“A Wop Bop A Lu Bop A Wop Bam Boom!” The year was 1955, the song was “Tutti-Fruitti” and the artist was Little Richard. Parents of teen-age daughters may have been uneasy with Elvis Presley but Little Richard made them fearful for their sons as well.
Little Richard was different in looks, style, and the way he played rock ‘n’ roll. He was schooled in rhythm & blues but by way of a thumping piano, wailing sax, and frenetic vocals that moved his sound over to straight rock ‘n’ roll. As such, he became one of the seminal figures and a founding father of the rock idiom. Any history about the development of 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll must pass through Little Richard.
The Very Best Of Little Richard is a 2008 CD release that covers all the important music from his early career. 24 of the 25 tracks are from 1955-1957 with one live track from 1964. The sound is crystal clear and the accompanying booklet is excellent.
The music of Little Richard blasts out of the speakers in two minute bursts of energy. Listening to an hour’s worth of his material is both exhilarating and exhausting. His sound is a constant assault on the senses. “Tutti Fruitti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” “Slippin’ and “Slidin’,” and “Rip It Up” set the tone for what is to follow and all in about 12 minutes. Plus, you need to realize these songs were issued 1955-1956.
The Little Richard hits just keep coming one after another. “Rip It Up” leads to “Ready Teddy” to “Jenny Jenny,” and then “Lucille,” “Keep A-Knockin’,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”
Little Richard would never move beyond his 50’s sound. While some artists were able to change with the times and others would fade from the scene; Little Richard would continue to present the songs contained on this CD for the next fifty years. Little Richard was an American musical original and there was no changing him.
The music of Little Richard has been presented in many forms over the years. The Very Best Of Little Richard moves to the head of the class among his releases. It accumulates all his important music into one place and provides an essential listening experience for any aficionado of American rock ‘n’ roll.