Matt Stroshane/Getty ImagesHappy 80th birthday to one of the all-time great singers and showmen in rock 'n' roll history, Little Richard. Born Richard Wayne Penniman in on December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, he began developing his vocal and piano skills while attending church as a young boy. He scored his first hit in 1957 with the classic "Tutti Frutti," which reached #17 on the U.S. singles chart.
During the next few years, Richard released many more memorable tunes, including "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up," "Lucille," "Jenny Jenny," "Keep A-Knockin'" and "Good Golly Miss Molly." In 1957, he abruptly gave up rock 'n' roll to become an evangelist, but he eventually returned to the music for which he's famous. Among the many artists he's influenced are The Beatles, Mick Jagger, James Brown, Elton John, David Bowie, John Fogerty, Bob Seger and even "The King" himself -- Elvis Presley.
Little Richard was among the first 10 stars inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He continues to perform today.
In a new interview with Georgia newspaper The Telegraph, Richard mused on his long life. "God has been good to me," he said. "Nobody in my family lived to get this age. None of the men."
He added, "I don't drink, I don't smoke. I'm not putting nobody down that do, because to each his own."
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