Little Richard Songs Ranked

Richard Wayne Penniman (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), known as Little Richard, was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was an influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades. Nicknamed “The Innovator, The Originator, and The Architect of Rock and Roll”, Richard’s most celebrated work date from the mid-1950s, when his charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding backbeat, and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll. Richard’s innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations. Richard was honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2015, Richard received a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for his key role in the formation of popular music genres and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the music charts and in concert in the mid-1950s changing American culture significantly. “Tutti Frutti” was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”. Here are all of Little Richard’s songs ranked.

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15. True, Fine Mama (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“The year is 1957 and Little Richard is the loudest motherfucker on the entire planet. As I’ve learnt, albums from this early on are more just collections of singles – but by god this record grabbed my head and SHOOK IT until my eyes bled.”

14. Ride on the Magic School Bus (On The Magic School Bus, 1986)

“Little Richard’s impact on the world of R&B and music at large cannot be understated, yet while this record is full over well-performed and fun tracks i can’t help but feel like when it comes to this alone as an album, there’s just better stuff out there.”

13. She’s Got It (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“She’s Got It” was recorded by Little Richard in September 1956. It also featured in the comedy musical film with a rock ‘n’ roll subplot The Girl Can’t Help It [1956], in which Richard sings the song while the character played by Jayne Mansfield seductively walks to the powder room.”

12. Send Me Some Lovin’ (Little Richard, 1958)

“The only song here that isn’t a rager is “Send Me Some Lovin'”, but it isn’t exactly a slow dancing tune! Every song stomps, swings, and rolls with the best of them. I can’t imagine anyone sitting still listening to this music; it is goddamned invigorating.”

See more: Little Richard Albums Ranked

11. Groovy Little Suzy (Little Richard Is Back (And There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On!), 1964)

“Richard was still in his prime by the mid 60’s, as exemplified by this diverse offering, which has a splendid blend of Rock & Roll, R&B, Soul, and even a smattering of Blues. The energy and passion on display is simply powerful. This also happened to be Richard’s first Rock album in years after he spent a while recording gospel music.”

10. Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Rock ‘N’ Roll, 1956)

“”Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)” has composer credits of Little Richard, Edwin Bocage [Eddie Bo], Al Collins and James Smith. The song was first recorded by Al Collins in 1955 as “I Got the Blues for You”. Subsequently Eddie Bo wrote different lyrics and adapted the song and cut it as “I’m Wise”, which record I have also reviewed on my 1956 list. Richard changed the title to “Slippin and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)” when recording a variant of Bo’s version.”

9. Jenny Jenny (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“Its one of the very first albums in the history of rock n’ roll. Its also one of the most important, influential, and generally all around great.collections of early rock n’ roll. Its got many of the mans best known singles, as well as most of those classics b-sides.”

8. The Girl Can’t Help It (Little Richard, 1958)

“This is Little Richard at his youthful 1956 best. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go rent it. When you see Jayne Mansfield in action, you’ll appreciate the song.”

7. Keep a Knockin’ (Little Richard, 1958)

“Keep a Knockin'” still sounds boisterous and out-of-control today, and I wish that modern radio had the guts to play something half as unruly. It was also hilarious when Cheech Marin referenced in it Up in Smoke, so that just makes me appreciate this superb song even more.”

6. Ready Teddy (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“Little Richard was always great, well at least in the 50’s he was (not so sure about afterwards), and this is no exception. This was the first song of his that I heard, so there is some sentimental feeling towards it coming from me.”

See more: Richard Thompson Albums Ranked

5. Rip It Up (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“From its immortal opening lines — “Well, it’s Saturday night and I just got paid/Spend my money, don’t try to save” — “Rip It Up” is one of the most arrogant, wild, uninhibited pieces of music Little Richard ever recorded. Which, of course, means in all of rock’n’roll”

4. Lucille (Little Richard, 1958)

“The mid to uptempo rocker has wonderful riffing swaying horns, Earl Palmer’s great, driving drums, Richard’s superb work on the keys and an outstanding tenor saxophone break from Lee Allen which keeps the unremitting momentum driving along, as Richard pleads for his runaway girlfriend’s love and her return to him”

3. Good Golly Miss Molly (Little Richard, 1958)

“His voice in this song scared the living daylights out of me when I first heard it. It still gives me chills when I hear it”

2. Long Tall Sally (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“A fusion of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, soul, blues and everything else great about Little Richard with a super vocal performance, easily the best song of the ’50s”

1. Tutti Frutti (Here’s Little Richard, 1957)

“This song is one of those songs you think of when you hear the name, Little Richard. Love how it showcases not just his abilities vocally but on the piano as well. Tutti-Frutti gets you moving, and that is what Little Richard loved to see his music accomplish.