TYPE: Documents (Loose)
COMPONENTS: 3 items related to 1960 Cadillac 1 Owners ID 1 B&W photo
ITEM ID: 5055
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Little Richard 1960 Cadillac-Related Documents

Year: 1960
Decade: 1960s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

A group of three items:

-a small booklet titled “Owner Protection Policy / For Your 1960 Cadillac” with the singer’s name and Los Angeles address typed on the inside cover;
-a black and white snapshot of the singer standing next to his Caddy;
-and a small “Certificate of Inspection” from 1960, also relating to the car.

Further included is a black and white photograph of a house in Riverside, California, where the singer lived in the 1970s and a Cadillac Owner’s Identification. Little Richard was quoted in a magazine article, saying, “I wanted attention. I always had a big head. I wasn’t that interested in money. I wanted to be famous and have a Cadillac. Where I was born, the only time you rode in a Cadillac was after you were dead.”

Biography and Influence:

Richard Wayne Penniman (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), known as Little Richard, was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was an influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades.

Nicknamed “The Innovator, The Originator, and The Architect of Rock and Roll”, Richard’s most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding back beat and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll. Richard’s innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations.

Richard is cited as one of the first crossover black artists, reaching audiences of all races. His music and concerts broke the color line, drawing blacks and whites together despite attempts to sustain segregation. Taken by his music and style, and personally covering four of Richard’s songs on his own two breakthrough albums in 1956, Elvis Presley told Richard in 1969 that his music was an inspiration to him and that he was “the greatest”. Richard influenced generations of performers across musical genres. James Brown and Otis Redding both idolized him. Bob Dylan first performed covers of Richard’s songs on piano in high school with his rock and roll group, the Golden Chords; in 1959 when leaving school, he wrote in his yearbook under “Ambition”: “to join Little Richard”. Jimi Hendrix was influenced in appearance (clothing and hairstyle/mustache) and sound by Richard. He was quoted in 1966 saying, “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice.” Several members of the Beatles were heavily influenced by Richard, including Paul McCartney and George Harrison. McCartney idolized him in school and later used his recordings as inspiration for his uptempo rockers, such as “I’m Down.” “Long Tall Sally” was the first song McCartney performed in public. During the Beatles’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Harrison commented, “thank you all very much, especially the rock ‘n’ rollers, an’ Little Richard there, if it wasn’t for (gesturing to Little Richard), it was all his fault, really.” Upon hearing “Long Tall Sally” in 1956, John Lennon later commented that he was so impressed that he “couldn’t speak”. Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also profoundly influenced by Richard, with Jagger citing him as his introduction to R&B music and referring to him as “the originator and my first idol”. David Bowie called Richard his “inspiration” stating upon listening to “Tutti Frutti” that he “heard God”. After opening for him with his band Bluesology, pianist Reginald Dwight was inspired to be a “rock and roll piano player”, later changing his name to Elton John. Farrokh Bulsara performed covers of Richard’s songs as a teen, before finding fame as Freddie Mercury, frontman for Queen. Audioslave’s and Soundgarden’s frontman Chris Cornell traced his musical influences back to Richard via the Beatles.

Richard was honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.