Little Richard wasn’t just a pioneer and on the all-time great rock n roll singers (and Lemmy’s favorite), but he was also a really cool cat! I know this because I had the honor of spending some time with him in 2006 when I did the show “Celebrity Duets.”
He was one of the judges for the show (he said I “made his big toe wiggle in his boot” after one of my performances!), but he was usually pretty quiet and spent very little time on the set due to religious reasons. I’m not sure if it was Judaism that he practiced, but for whatever reason, his beliefs dictated that he had to be home before sundown. So he was usually in and out of the studio very quickly.
But one week on the show he performed “Good Golly Miss Molly,” and I was lucky enough to be asked to join him on stage (you can see me at the very beginning of this video wearing a blazer and a white shirt and then standing beside his piano during the rest). Earlier in the day, he showed up for rehearsal, and due to the fact that I was involved in his segment, I was onset early as well. He was helped to the piano by his handlers (he was 73 at the time and was having trouble walking), and once he was behind his piano on the platform, he was pretty much stuck there for the duration. So I wandered over and started a conversation with him. We talked about his influence on The Beatles, piano playing techniques, his amazing fashion style, etc. Then after a few minutes, he started noodling on the piano and said: “Sing something, man.” So I hummed some melody lines over the top of the chords he was playing. It didn’t last long as the director started staging shots and whatnot, but it didn’t matter… I got to jam with Little FUCKING Richard!!! I’ll never forget that day!!
So thank you Richard, for being so damn cool to me … and thanks for everything you did for rock n roll…. from the guy who made your big toe wiggle.