The Ballad of Little Richard: 1932 – 2020.

Life is really, just a collection of moments. There are some that are undeniably more pivotal than others. I remember as a young boy, my parents had taken me over to a house of some friends of theirs. And they had a young boy, around my own age at the time. About twelve. And so, I was told to go downstairs and play with them. It turned out this boy had an electric guitar, a bass and a microphone set up with an amp. Him and his buddy asked me if I could sing, and of course I couldn’t. But after they pushed me to do so, I went for it. We did U2’s Seconds together and it felt electrifying to hear my own voice over instruments. The feelings this short jam session conjured up in me were simply indescribable.

They asked me to come back some other time, but I never did. I thought I wasn’t good enough or cool enough. I don’t have many regrets in my own life, but I do regret not going back to that basement. Who knew where it might have led? Probably nowhere. But still, it taught me the value of taking risks, and saying yes to things that might usually make me feel uncomfortable at later times in my life.

When you trace the roots of music, no matter what genre, you find a lineage of pivotal moments as well. One cannot happen without the other. Little Richard represented one of those crucial moments in time. A supernova that exploded before our very eyes, forming an entire constellation in strange and unpredictable ways. Someone not afraid to be different. Someone that took risks. And someone with jaw dropping, incredible talent. Without him, we might not have had rock n’ roll. Or at least, not the version of flamboyant, expressive rock n’ roll that came to be. Little Richard was truly one of a kind and we were lucky to have had him in our lifetime.

 

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