When Little Richard died a few days ago, everyone was quick to rightfully hail him as the true king of rock and roll (which he was always quick to crown himself). But he was also the queen (which he would also sometimes declare).
David Bowie is often identified as the great leper messiah who made unapologetic gender fluidity acceptable in rock and roll, but he (and countless others) got their inspiration –and costume and makeup tips– from Little Richard. James Brown, Bowie, Prince, Elton John, Marc Bolan, Jagger, Plant, Rundgren, Alice Cooper, and all the rest of them, even John Waters' mustache, owe an immense debt to Little Richard (who…um…owes his own great debt to Esquerita). Richard had nearly as much of an impact on the style, preen and swagger, and the transgressive posturings of rock and roll as did his music.
Hail the Queen!
Read a bit more on the subject (and see some cool pictures) in this article in The Guardian.
Image: Anna Bleker, Public Domain