“A-wop-bop-a-lu-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!” The year was 1955, the song was “Tutti Frutti,” and the artist was Little Richard. Parents of teenage 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 and frenetic vocals moved his sound over to straight rock. As such, he became on 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.
This collection covers all of the important music from his early career. 24 of the twenty-five tracks are from 1955-1957, with one live track from 1964. The sound is crystal-clear and the accompanying booklet is excellent also. The songs blast out of the speakers in two-minute bursts of energy, and listening to an hour’s worth of his material is both exhilarating and exhausting. His sound is a constant assault on the senses, from “Tutti Fruitti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” “Slippin’ And “Slidin,’” and “Rip It Up, these memorable tracks set the tone for what is to follow, and all this in about twelve minutes. Plus, all these songs were issued in succession within a decade, from 1955-1965.
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 ‘50s sound. While some artists were able to change with the times and still others would fade from the scene entirely, Little Richard would continue to present the songs contained on this album for the next fifty years. He was an American musical original and there was truly no changing him.
Little Richard’s music has been presented in many forms over the years, but The Very Best Of Little Richard moves to the head of the class among the numerous releases. This disc accumulates all his important music into one place, providing an essential listening experience for any aficionado of American rock ‘n’ roll.