Some music transcends genres in both its artistry and influence. It stands out as a pillar that helps construct everything that comes after. This may sound like hyperbole but when it comes to those artists in the 1950’s that built the foundations of what would be both today’s popular music and rock ‘n’ roll, most descriptions come off as mere euphemisms.
One can point at Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and a few others and pontificate for days about the significance of these artists. Yet they may never capture the real depth and importance.
Then you have Little Richard.
It just isn’t enough to say he laid down the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll, because he works on so many more levels. It’s rock, r&b, soul, funk, and subsequently how pop music has sounded for the last 60 years.
When I listen to Richard I hear Motown and Stax a couple years before they even existed. I see Elton John’s glitter, James Brown dance and the Ramones screaming out a four count. Oh and let us not even get started on the all out performance.
This is why I say that this record is beyond classic.
Had Richard’s not left Rock ‘n’ Roll for religion immediately following this record, his reputation might very well have risen into the upper echelon of “Rock Gods”, instead of a guy standing around schlepping fast food deals for Taco Bell.
Forget for a moment that Rolling Stone has this album ranked at #50 in it’s top 500 all-time, and that it made the list of 1001 Albums you must hear before you die. The only important thing is the music itself.
This album is early rock at its most powerful and a blue print to almost every sub-genre off rock since. Yes, it is that good.
Luckily, it is readily available across all formats right now with new re-mastered vinyl editions being released just back in December 2014.
You can pick up a 180 gram black vinyl edition at your better record retailers, or a limited edition opaque orange (only 500 copies made) copy here.