Little Richard: “I’m Still Singing!”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, legendary rock n’ roll artist Little Richard admitted that, just a few months shy of his last birthday, he still has “it” as a performer despite reports that he was “clinging to his last breath.”
The death-bed rumors might have started after a troubled by sciatica and a degenerating hip caused Little Richard (born Richard Penniman, now 84 years old) to perform only sparingly in recent years and hasn’t always managed to play up to his usual standards. In June 2012, he was forced to stop a show, telling the crowd, “Jesus, please help me – I can’t hardly breathe. It’s horrible.”
But even with that little setback, Little Richard is still alive and well and kicking. “I just spoke to him today,” says William Sobel, who has represented him for 30 years. “He said, ‘You know, I want you to talk to [the press] because I’m really annoyed this thing started on Facebook. Not only is my family not gathering around me because I’m ill, but I’m still singing. I don’t perform like I used to, but I have my singing voice, I walk around, I had hip surgery a while ago but I’m healthy.’”
He recovered sufficiently to headline at 2013′s Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. This comes just a little after Richard suffered a heart attack and told how he didn’t even realize he was having one when it happened and right before he was in a car accident.
According to the article, he now spends his time designing clothes and praying — and thinking about the impact left by his groundbreaking early singles like ‘Tutti-Frutti’ and “Long Tall Sally.”
“I think my legacy should be that when I started in show business, there wasn’t no such thing as rock ‘n’ roll,” he mused. “When I started with ‘Tutti Frutti,’ that’s when rock really started rocking.”
A 65-year veteran of show business and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, as well as a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Little Richard helped lay the groundwork for a number of artists during the ’50s before announcing his retirement from secular music toward the end of the decade.