Without Little Richard, who died today at the age of 87, rock and roll might not exist—and at the very least, it would have looked very different. (The cause, his son told Rolling Stone, was cancer.) The man who taught Paul McCartney to “woooo!” was a pioneer and an innovator by any standard you could care to name. In terms of music, performance, sexuality, he was so far ahead of his contemporaries that it took years, if not decades, for them to catch up. As news of Richard Penniman’s death spread Saturday morning, musicians and artists spanning generations took to social pay to pay their respects, and ensure his legacy got its due.
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