It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which Little Richard song is the most iconic. Surely, it’s got to be “Tutti-Frutti” (which apparently had the original lyrics “Tutti Frutti, good booty / If it don’t fit, don’t force it / You can grease it, make it easy,” and was about another gay man), but then I think of “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally” and “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “I Need Love” and it really becomes an almost impossible choice to make. Couple his near-endless discography of hits with his history of reinventing the sound of rock ‘n’ roll (he was the king, after all), his propensity for high glam, and his incredible stage presence, and you be hard-pressed to find an aspect of the music industry which he didn’t have an impact on.
As such, although he died Saturday due to his ongoing battle with bone cancer, his legacy is not one that will soon be forgotten.
As is so often the case after people pass away, surprising, or little know facts about them start to make the rounds. In this vein, I came to learn what is one of my favorite new facts about Little Richard, that fact being that he is the voice behind the Magic School Bus theme song. Obviously, upon hearing the first word of the song with this knowledge in mind, it’s impossible not to be able to pin Little Richards signature style and voice to the tune but divorced from that knowledge, and it having been probably over a decade since I’d heard the original, it had absolutely slipped by me that I’d be listening to Little Richard for most of my childhood.
There are certainly greater accomplishments than this under his bedazzled belt, but this one really hit home for me. I’m not saying that it would push any of the other abovementioned songs out of the running for most iconic, but I am saying that it might nudge itself onto the list.
If you’re looking for some visuals to accompany your Little Richard in memoriam singalong, I’ve mined Getty for some of the incredible looks down below. There may be many who have referenced him over the years, but there will only ever be one Little Richard.