Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, and actor, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the mid-1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and contributed significantly to the early development of soul music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame citation on Penniman states:
He claims to be “the architect of rock and roll,” and history would seem to bear out Little Richard’s boast. 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.