Little Richard (1932–2020): Tribute List

It's impossible to overstate the importance of Little Richard, born Richard Penniman, in the history of popular music. Known as "The Architect of Rock 'n' Roll," he was really the founding father. He fused R&B, gospel, and boogie-woogie into a new genre that that changed the culture forever. From the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, from Michael Jackson to Prince, his combination of virtuosity, enthusiasm, and showmanship inspired generations of imitators. He died on May 9, 2020.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. carat
    a unit of measurement for the proportion of gold in an alloy
    I am going to the corner, gonna buy a diamond ring.
    Would you pardon me if it's a nineteen carat golden thing.
    – Good Golly Miss Molly
    Carat comes from the Greek keration, which refers to the bean of the carob tree. The seeds were used as a measure of weight.
  2. conceited
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    "I'm not conceited, I'm convinced."
    – Interview with Tom Snyder, 1997
    Among other things, Little Richard was famous for his appearance. From early on, he wore heavy makeup and loud clothes that matched his larger-than-life persona. He frequently talked about how pretty he was, and how many other artists imitated not just his music but his looks and stage presence.
  3. deceive
    cause someone to believe an untruth
    Please don't leave me
    Don't deceive me
    Please don't go
    – Don't Deceive Me
  4. dungaree
    a coarse durable twill-weave cotton fabric
    All the flat top cats and the dungaree dolls,
    Are headed for the gym to the sock hop ball
    – Ready Teddy
    Dongari was a fort near Mumbai, and the Marathi word for a dense cotton cloth woven there took that name. Blue jeans were known as dungarees in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  5. engrossed
    giving or marked by complete attention to
    If she walks by, the men folks get engrossed
    (She can't help it, the girl can't help it)
    – The Girl Can't Help It
  6. exploited
    developed or used to greatest advantage
    "I was cheated, I was used, and I was exploited."
    – Interview with David Letterman, 1982
    Though he made a lot of money from his many hit records, Richard suffered from dishonest managers who took more than their share of his money and made deals that were not in his best interest. At one point he even went back to school to learn enough about finances and business so that he could handle his own affairs.
  7. flamboyant
    tending to attract attention; marked by ostentatious display
    "In that period, there were a lot of people who would have loved to be flamboyant."
    – Interview with David Letterman, 1982
  8. jinx
    an evil spell
    Bad luck baby put the jinx on me,
    I got the heeby jeebies and I can't get well
    – Heeby Jeebies
    In Ancient Greece, the wryneck, a small woodpecker, was used in witchcraft. Its Greek name, iynx, became jynx in Latin, and brought the association with bad magic with it. In scientific taxonomy, the bird's genus is still Jynx.
  9. jukebox
    a cabinet containing an automatic record player
    All around the world
    Rock and roll is on its way
    You can hear those jukebox jumpin'
    All night and all through the day
    – All Around The World
    Juke is a Gullah word meaning "disorderly" or "wicked." African-American bars and dance clubs in the south were known as "juke joints," and the coin-operated machines that would play records became known as jukeboxes.
  10. landlord
    a property owner who leases property or housing to others
    You know, the landlord rang my front door bell.
    I let it ring for a long, long spell.
    – Money Honey
  11. mesmerize
    attract strongly, as if with a magnet
    If she mesmerizes, every mother's son
    (She can't help it, the girl can't help it)
    – The Girl Can't Help It
    Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734–1815), an Austrian physician, developed a controversial medical theory involving hypnosis. He was accused of fraud, and his theory was debunked, but his name lived on; for a while mesmerism was synonymous with hypnotism.
  12. perseverance
    the act of persisting
    "Jimi had the perseverance to go on."
    – Interview in Jimi Hendrix documentary
    Jimi Hendrix joined Little Richard's band in 1964, though he only lasted around a year. The two clashed over Hendrix's desire for the spotlight. Hendrix was heavily influenced by Richard's voice, appearance, and energy. He said that he wanted to do with his guitar what Richard did with his voice.
  13. recompense
    make payment to
    "I know when he saw me it gave him confidence, and great recompense."
    – Interview in Jimi Hendrix documentary
  14. satisfaction
    the state of being gratified
    But when I need some satisfaction
    You call on me for a quick reaction
    – I Need Love
  15. surrender
    relinquish possession or control over
    Oh Malinda
    She's a solid sender
    You know you better surrender
    – Slippin' and Slidin'
Created on May 9, 2020 (updated May 9, 2020)

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