Little Richard, one of the primary architects of rock ‘n’ roll, died today at the age of 87. The influence of his ’50s hits on all rock artists who followed him cannot be overstated.
This includes, of course, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who have covered his songs occasionally over the years. Most significantly, of course, Little Richard’s “Good Golly, Miss Molly” is a big part of their dependably rousing “Detroit Medley” — named after Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, who covered “Good Golly, Miss Molly” as a medley with “Devil With the Blue Dress On” in 1964. But Springsteen has also sung Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” and others. You can watch him in action, below.
It should also be mentioned that when E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt married Maureen Santoro in New York on New Year’s Eve, 1982, Little Richard performed the ceremony, with Springsteen serving as best man.
“Richard embodied the Spirit of RockNRoll,” Van Zandt tweeted today.
Another E Street Band member, Nils Lofgren, also tweeted: “Sing in Peace Little Richard. Bless you! No one had a greater hand in creating Rock n Roll, the Sacred Weapon that continues to heal our troubled world. Eternal Love and Thanks.”
Here is a great video of Springsteen performing the “Detroit Medley” — including parts of Little Richard’s “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and “Jenny, Jenny” — with the E Street Band in 1978.
Here is Paul McCartney performing Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” with Springsteen and the E Street Band in 2016. (Little Richard, of course, had a huge influence on The Beatles.)
Here is Springsteen and the E Street Band performing “Long Tall Sally” on their own in 2013
Here is Springsteen performing “Long Tall Sally” with the Max Weinberg Big Band at a 2011 benefit.
Here is Springsteen and the E Street Band performing Little Richard’s “Lucille” in 2013.
Here is Springsteen performing Little Richard’s “Bama Lama Bama Loo” with Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers in 1994.
Here is Springsteen performing the Little Richard hit “Keep a-Knockin’ ” with Midnight Thunder in 1983.
And if you go to the 1:51 mark here, you can hear Springsteen performing the Little Richard hit “Ready Teddy,” followed by “Lucille.”
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.