Elton John on Little Richard: 'True Legend, Icon and Force of Nature' - Rolling Stone
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Elton John on Little Richard: ‘A True Legend, Icon and a Force of Nature’

“Without a doubt – musically, vocally and visually – he was my biggest influence,” singer says of late rock pioneer

Elton John remembered Little Richard on social media Saturday following the music icon’s death at the age of 87.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Dave Simpson/Getty Images

Elton John remembered Little Richard on social media Saturday following the music icon’s death at the age of 87.

“Without a doubt – musically, vocally and visually – he was my biggest influence,” John wrote in a series of tweets. “Seeing him live in my teens was the most exciting event in my life at that point. Goosebumps, electricity and joy came from every pore.”

In 1966, John — then Reginald Dwight, the organist in the band Bluesology — opened for Little Richard during the rock pioneer’s London concert. “When I saw Little Richard standing on top of the piano, all lights, sequins and energy, I decided there and then then that I was going to be a rock ‘n’ roll piano player,” John said in the biography His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John.

John continued Saturday, “His records still sound fresh and the opening few seconds of ‘Tutti Frutti’ are the most explosive in music history. I was lucky enough to work with him for my ‘Duets’ album in 1993. He was shy and funny and I was SO nervous. The track we recorded “The Power” is a favorite in my catalogue. We also played live at the Beverly Hilton and I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. He influenced so many and is irreplaceable. A true legend, icon and a force of nature.”

In a 1973 Rolling Stone interview, John said of Little Richard’s influence on his music, “I’m more a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, whereas I think Little Richard is more of a pounder. I think his rock and roll records are the best rock and roll records ever made, as far as just the genuine sound on them goes.”

In This Article: Elton John, Little Richard

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