Little Richard
One of the key figures in the creation of rock and roll as a modern art form, Little Richard was also one of its most energetic and outrageous performers, and for a brief time, one of the most successful African-American artists in music history. Like Ray Charles before him, Richard brought the devotional intensity of his gospel upbringing to raucous R&B tunes like "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," "Slippin' and Slidin'" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly," but added a layer of passion to the material that proved irresistible to both black and white audiences of the 1950s. From 1957 to 1959, he was on par with such titans as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, but a conflict of faith forced him to abandon stardom for an evangelical life. His early music would inspire countless performers to launch their own rock and R&B careers, from James Brown and Otis Redding, to Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Michael Jackson. Often imitated but never surpassed, Little Richard was a living musical icon whose songs helped to define one of the most significant musical genres in history.

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