Tuesday, May 12, 2020

How about This: Little Richard--Not Conceited, Convinced.

From Critic’s Notebook (link below)
--Wesley Morris, NYT

Little Richard Wasn’t Conceited. He Was Underappreciated.


Excerpted in bites: 

"After his career in music, the rock ’n’ roll innovator took up the task of maintaining his legacy — because nobody else was going to do it.

At the 1988 Grammys, someone had the idea to have [Little Richard] present best new artist  ... 

Little Richard, who’s in a golden tuxedo, sunglasses and his legendary pile of hair. Before they start, he proceeds to take in [David] Johansen’s [of the New York Dolls] sky-scraping pompadour.  “I used to wear my hair like that,” Little Richard says, to big laughter. “They take everything I get. They take it from me.” 

“I am the architect of rock n roll!” he shouts. The audience is on its feet. “I am the originator.” But he goes on longer than that, maybe too long, cracking himself up along the way, letting out a proper “woo.” Half aggrieved king, half giddy queen. The winner really is me!

When it’s time, Little Richard says, “And the best new artist is … me.” The audience cheers. “I have never received nothin’. You all ain’t never gave me no Grammy. And I been singing for years.”
Something was always on fire with him. His loins, his fingers, his tongue. All of this burning alarmed the country, woke it up, amused and inspired it. He was ridiculous, and he knew it: equal parts church, filth, lust, androgyny, comedy, passion. And eventually anger. You see, this man built rock ’n’ roll’s rambunctious wing, its anything-goes department. People looted."

Somebody had to say it. Amen.  

From New York Times, Critic's Notebook, May 11, 2020.

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