Recording artists, industry leaders and celebrities of every stripe poured on the love for Little Richard, the trailblazing American rocker who died Saturday at the age of 87. On social media, admirers called the star, born Richard Penniman in Macon, Ga., an unforgettable artist and a generous mentor and friend.
Mick Jagger on Instagram called Richard “the biggest inspiration of my early teens” and a mentor. “When we were on tour with him I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me.”
Bob Dylan called Richard “the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do” and recalled playing shows with him in the ‘90s in Europe: “He was always generous, kind and humble. Ringo Starr posted a photograph of the legend with the Beatles, captioning it, “A night to remember.”
“He was there at the beginning and showed us all how to rock and roll,” wrote the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson on Twitter. Nils Lofgren, Billy Idol, Keith Richards, Jody Watley, Patti LaBelle and Carole King were among the artists mourning the “architect of rock ‘n’ roll” on Twitter.
Chance the Rapper wrote that he had recently read up on the singer and learned “about how he developed The Beatles and saved The Rolling Stones,” a reference to the legendary influence Richard had on the singing of Paul McCartney and Stones frontman Mick Jagger.
Music producer Quincy Jones posted on Facebook about “my brother & friend,” adding, “An innovator who’s influence spans America’s musical diaspora from Gospel, the Blues & R&B, to Rock & Roll, & Hip-Hop, there will never, ever, ever, be another Little Richard.”
Michelle Obama celebrated Richard’s “exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself.”
From Chuck D to Chuck Schumer, many also posted their favorite clips of Richard performing or in interviews. “Put some respeck on the creators,” wrote actor Jeffrey Wright, along with an audio clip of Richard singing “It Ain’t Watcha Do” in 1965 — with left-handed guitar back-up from the musician later known as Jimi Hendrix.
“In the world of music, it doesn’t get much better than Little Richard,” said New York Sen. Schumer.
Cyndi Lauper on Instagram posted a vintage photo of herself and Richard laughing in an embrace. “Did you guys know that #LittleRichard married David and me? True rock n roll royalty. An original. A legend,” the singer wrote, referring to her 1991 marriage to actor David Thorton. Richard also officiated at the 1987 wedding of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who tweeted a photo of the event.
Director Ava DuVernay remembered her encounters with Richard while she was working as a waitress during college. “I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends,” DuVernay wrote. “Helped me so much.”
Filmmaker Spike Lee posted a 1991 Nike commercial he directed starring Richard, Michael Jordan and himself. Lee called Richard “one of the true creators of rock and roll.”
I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved. He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.— Bob Dylan (@bobdylan) May 9, 2020
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I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard, he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50’s. When we were on tour with him I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me. He contributed so much to popular music. I will miss you Richard, God bless.
With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow. We are so lucky to have had him. Sending all my love to his family and friends today.— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) May 9, 2020
I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul. https://t.co/L0vo1tPdBv— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 9, 2020
Another legend taken from us. Unapologetically himself, Little Richard, the architect of rock ’n’ roll forged a path in both music and style so other artists could emulate. The world is a better and brighter place because of his music.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 9, 2020
Dust To Digital is such a incredible site and curated dedication. Since we are in the era of social distancing please RT this as the ultimate tribute to The Quasar Of Rick and Roll!!! RT RT lets get a million RT on the Incredible Little Richard. My FTP lyric was a 1989 nod to him https://t.co/0ZL7V0z7kc— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) May 9, 2020
Rest In Peace Little Richard. Architect of Rock n Roll. Originator. Innovator. Influencer.— Jody Watley (@jodywatley) May 9, 2020
He was also a part of one of the great nights of my life/career, 30th GRAMMY Awards in NYC 1988 -creating a legendary TV moment. Condolences to his family/ loved ones -we thank you 🙌🏾🎶👑 pic.twitter.com/txughrHpoK
MESSAGE FROM IGGY: „Dear Little Richard, thank you, RIP”— Iggy Pop (@IggyPop) May 9, 2020