Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Sunday, January 17, 2010

100 Records That Shook The World, #89

Tutti Frutti
Little Richard

"More than any other performer - save, perhaps,Elvis Presley, Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll." -- Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame website

Little Richard Penniman had been recording since 1951 but had had no chart success so far. In '55 he sent some demos to the Specialty  record label, at the suggestion of Lloyd Price ("Stagger Lee"). A session was arranged in September with Fats Domino's backing group. Apparently the longer the session wore on the more apparent it became that Richard's wild and crazy performance style was not being adequately captured on tape. During a break in recording, Little Richard, frustrated, started pounding out a rather saucy song that was part of his live act. The producer, Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell, knew the song had promise but the lyrics about "If it don't fit, don't force it" and "You can grease it, make it easy" would have to be changed. He hired a local songwriter to clean up the lyrics and it was recorded in three takes. It rose to #2 on the Billboard R & B chart early in '56 and also got to #17 on the national chart. A legend was born. A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-A-lop-bam-boom!

Here, from the 1956 film Don't Knock The Rock, is "Tutti Frutti".

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