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Rock Legend Little Richard Had Long And Deep Ties To L.A.

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Rock ‘n’ roll icon Little Richard died today at 87, from bone cancer .

In 1986, he was one of the 10 original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , and in 1993 was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia. He was a struggling performer when he signed in 1955 with the Los Angeles label, Specialty Records, which released his biggest hits.

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He would soon buy a house in L.A.’s Lafayette Park neighborhood . And through much of the 1980s and ’90s, he lived in a hotel on the Sunset Strip.

During that time, he had a memorable part in Paul Mazursky's 1986 comedy, "Down and Out in Beverly Hills."

L.A.-based writer Emory Holmes II met Little Richard and his producer, Bumps Blackwell, at a press conference around 1980. Holmes recalls: "After I corrected Richard about a detail of his own early career, Bumps grabbed me following the event and asked, 'Do you have a car?' Yes, I said.

"I stayed with them, as a driver and aide, until Bumps died in ’85, and served as one of his pall bearers with Quincy Jones and Casey Kasem. Richard, dressed in a sequined jacket, was the officiant at the funeral. The Angeles Funeral Home on Crenshaw was packed; the altar heaped with flowers. At one point in the service, Richard looked around and said, 'What beautiful flowers! Bumps would have loved them. But why didn’t any of you think to bring him flowers while he was still alive? That’s when he needed them.'"

Our friends at NPR created a playlist in his honor. Listen below:


And listen to NPR's memorial playlist

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