In early 1956, Pat Boone recorded two Little Richard songs which reached the Top 40 for Pat, “Tutti-Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally,” and this helped to propel Little Richard’s career with these two songs also becoming Richard’s first two Top 40 hit singles. Pat shared this Little Richard interview segment with Goldmine.
LITTLE RICHARD: Regarding “Tutti-Frutti,” Pat Boone sold more records than we did because they wouldn’t play Little Richard records on the radio, including in my hometown of Macon, Georgia. On “Long Tall Sally,” the follow up to “Tutti-Frutti,” we upped the tempo and we got the words together so fast that Pat Boone couldn’t do it at that speed, but he did do good versions of the songs. You know “a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom” is not too easy to sing. Pat Boone doing my music brought me across the line. When I was in Macon, Georgia washing dishes at the bus station, I was glad to get out of there. A lot of people wanted to hear the originators. They wanted to hear the real thing, but by Pat recording my music, he brought me to a wider audience, and I was accepted instantly. Thank you, Pat!
PAT BOONE: Richard and I are brothers, musically and spiritually. I had million-selling records of his early R&B hits which weren’t known on pop radio, and I am so pleased that he credited me with helping him cross over to the larger market, but way more than that, we knew we were Christian brothers and we celebrated that. I look forward to seeing him again before too long.
“Long Tall Sally” was a double-sided hit for Richard, with his composition “Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)” as the flip side, also reaching the Top 40 at No. 33.
Richard’s next single also achieved double-sided success in the Top 100, with both sides written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco, an exciting pairing with “Rip It Up” on the A side and “Reddy Teddy” on the flip side.
Flip side: Ready Teddy
A side: Rip It Up
Top 100 debut: July 7, 1956
Peak position: No. 17 – A side, No. 44 – flip side
Richard’s string of hits continued through 1958 including “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Lucille,” “Keep A Knockin’” and a pair of songs re-popularized in the next decade by Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, “Jenny, Jenny” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Many other artists have covered Little Richard’s music over the years from Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen with “Rip It Up” to The Beatles with “Long Tall Sally.” Paul McCartney credits Little Richard as one of his influences which is evident on The Beatles’ flip sides “I’m Down,” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” which Richard also released as a flip side in 1970, months after the Beatles disbanded.
Little Richard passed away on May 9 at the age of 87.