“I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard,” Mick Jagger wrote in a statement, “he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50’s.”
When the Rolling Stones embarked on their first tour in 1963, the band recruited many of the artists that inspired them, including Little Richard, to join them on the trek.
“When we were on tour with him I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me,” Jagger continued. “He contributed so much to popular music I will miss you Richard, God bless.”
Keith Richards added in a statement, “So sad to hear that my old friend Little Richard has passed. There will never be another. He was the true spirit of Rock’n Roll.”
In Rolling Stone’s 2004 issue “The Immortals,” recognizing the 100 greatest artists of all time, Little Richard wrote about his own legacy, including inspiring many of the bands — like the Stones — ranked ahead of him on the list.
“I appreciate being picked one of the top fifty performers, but who is number one and who is number two doesn’t matter to me anymore,” Little Richard wrote.
“Because it won’t be who I think it should be — it’s not going to ever be any of the entertainers from the past. The Rolling Stones started with me, but they’re going to always be in front of me. The Beatles started with me — at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, before they ever made a record — but they’re going to always be in front of me. James Brown, Jimi Hendrix — these people started with me. I fed them, I talked to them, and they’re going to always be in front of me. But it’s a joy just to still be here, to have stood the test of time.”
Little Richard was also on hand when the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989:
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) May 9, 2020