Little Richard is one of my heroes. I first heard him in the early sixties and he blew my mind. For me Elvis wasn’t the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll it was Little Richard. His explosive style was incandescent. Nobody else got near.
At a school fete, in the 1962, I took my dansette along and set up as a human jukebox. It gave me licence to blast out my music all afternoon. I only took one album – Little Richard – but it was in great demand. I did not make much for the school fund but I had a great time.
Strangely I had never seen him live – probably because I did not much like the parody of himself that he had become in the sixties. I wanted that original sound. But then in 2000 and something he played Bradford. I got tickets and took my youngest son along.
It was a strange gig – a third Rock ‘n’ Roll, a third preaching and a third Gospel. Not the best by any means but at least a glimpse of the man. At the end of the gig Little Richard invited everyone to come and see him after the gig, to get a signed poster. Well it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I walked down the street to the rendezvous, along with a number of others, and was chatting to the guy who had been the support act – Stan Dulson – he had been the lead singer with the Measles – one of my favourite bands – who did a cracking Casting My Spell.
Arriving at the place I joined the queue clutching my bag of precious LPs which I had brought with me. They were albums from the sixties that I had cherished for forty hyears. Very special to me. I had hoped Little Richard might make my year and sign them. I was told by two heavy dudes who were manning the door that if I brought anything out of my bag they’d smash the albums and break my arms. From the look on their faces and the size of their muscles I gathered that they were not kidding.
Another tough guy inside the door charged me £25 for the privilege and I went in. My son wasn’t allowed in with me without paying another £25. I met Little Richard, shook his hand, told him how great he was, told him my name, received a blessing from god and he signed my poster.
I came out thinking that this was all a bit heavy and exploitative.
I have that signed poster in my study. I often look at it and think back to that surreal evening.
But I suppose I did get to meet Little Richard and I do have a personalised poster signed by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.