Paul McCartney on Little Richard: ‘I Thank Him For All He Taught Me’

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Paul McCartney has paid tribute to Little Richard, one day after the rock and roll pioneer’s death. In a post on his social media platforms, McCartney called the performer “a great man” and shared memories of The Beatles’ early days when they performed on the same bill as him.

Little Richard died May 9 and throughout the day fellow music legends from Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan to Jerry Lee Lewis to Elton John sang the man’s praises.

Here’s McCartney’s complete statement:

“From ‘Tutti Frutti’ to ‘Long Tall Sally’ to ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ to ‘Lucille,’ Little Richard came screaming into my life when I was a teenager. I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style; and he knew it. He would say, ‘I taught Paul everything he knows.’ I had to admit he was right.

“In the early days of The Beatles we played with Richard in Hamburg and got to know him. He would let us hang out in his dressing room and we were witness to his pre-show rituals, with his head under a towel over a bowl of steaming hot water he would suddenly lift his head up to the mirror and say, ‘I can’t help it cos I’m so beautiful.’ And he was.

“A great man with a lovely sense of humour and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more. I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend. Goodbye Richard and a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.”

In his tribute on May 9, Jagger offered a similar sentiment, writing in part, “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.”

Meanwhile, McCartney has canceled the 2020 dates of his Freshen Up tour which was scheduled to begin on May 23, citing the “current global situation. Given current and future work commitments it has not been possible to find alternative dates.”

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