CLEVELAND — The music industry is mourning the loss of Little Richard, who died Saturday at the age of 87.
Nicknamed "The Innovator, The Originator, and The Architect of Rock and Roll," Richard Wayne Penniman sold more than 30 million records while dazzling audiences worldwide for decades. He was perhaps just as known for his trademark flashy style as he was for his brilliant, powerful voice.
For his remarkable career as well as his influence on the genre itself, Little Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 1986. Museum CEO Greg Harris released the following statement on the music legend's passing:
"Inductee Little Richard ripped-up the Fifties. His unrestrained musicality and charismatic persona created a rock & roll blueprint followed by generations. Songs like 'Tutti Frutti,' 'Long Tall Sally' and 'Good Golly, Miss Molly' were amplified by Richard's rockin’ piano, rolling rhythms and an electric stage presence. His sound and style were the cornerstones of rock & roll, and his outrageousness and rebellious spirit challenged the world to change."
Little Richard was not able to attend the first Rock Hall induction ceremony after being injured in a car accident, so his brother-in-law Marvin Blackmon accepted his award on his behalf. Nine years later, however, the museum itself opened in Cleveland, and Richard was asked to be a part of the star-studded concert lineup.
As expected, "the Architect" wowed the crowd at old Municipal Stadium, which would be torn down a year later following the Browns' move to Baltimore.
Flags at the Rock Hall have been lowered to half-staff in Penniman's honor, and the museum will post a video tribute to the artist later today on its website.