Paul McCartney: ‘I Owe a Lot of What I Do to Little Richard’

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Paul McCartney, who learned “everything he knows” from Little Richard, penned a tribute to the rock pioneer Sunday following Little Richard’s death at the age of 87.

“From ‘Tutti Frutti’ to ‘Long Tall Sally’ to ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ to ‘Lucille’, Little Richard came screaming into my life when I was a teenager,” McCartney tweeted. “I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style; and he knew it. He would say, ‘I taught Paul everything he knows’. I had to admit he was right.”

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Early in the Beatles’ history, when the future Fab Four were still playing residencies the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany, the band were on a split bill with Little Richard in mid-1962.

McCartney added, “In the early days of the Beatles we played with Richard in Hamburg and got to know him. He would let us hang out in his dressing room and we were witness to his pre-show rituals, with his head under a towel over a bowl of steaming hot water, he would suddenly lift his head up to the mirror and say, ‘I can’t help it cos I’m so beautiful.’ And he was.”

McCartney would later reveal he adopted Little Richard’s pre-show ritual as his own. “I do like a steaming before I go on, which I was told was probably the best thing to clear your larynx,” McCartney said in 2017. “I was taught that by watching Little Richard do it when we were kids in Hamburg. He used to do it before he went on.”

The Beatles would later cover Little Richard staples like “Long Tall Sally,” “Lucille” and “Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!”

“A great man with a lovely sense of humor and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more,” McCartney tweeted Sunday. “I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend. Goodbye Richard and a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.”

Following the death of the King of Rock & Roll, many of the artists who Little Richard inspired — including the Rolling Stones, Elton John, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan and more — paid tribute to the music icon.

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