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Dianne Gibbons WRITES ; After 50 years at The Sentinel, Dianne looks back on some of the many stories she has covered, including dozens of pop... [Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent, England)]

October 26, 2013

YellowBrix

Dianne Gibbons WRITES ; After 50 years at The Sentinel, Dianne looks back on some of the many stories she has covered, including dozens of pop concerts

WHEN I think about the performance of singer Little Richard, I feel like doing a Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly Come Dancing and saying A-M-A-Z-IN-G. The diminutive figure certainly packs a musical punch, and I was delighted to be invited by him and his manager to stand on the side of the stage at Trentham Gardens in the 60s to watch him perform.

I was the one incongruously hidden behind the potted palm! In those days, I had never seen anything quite like him before.

His performance was electric and dynamic, and the power he exuded embraced the audience too, and they became caught up in the musical whirlwind.

I could not help but think to myself - what a guy!

For someone who had taken music lessons on the piano, I was more than impressed with the way the singer tinkled the ivories in the most outrageous way.

It was, I have to say, a cloud nine moment for me. How lucky we were to have stars of that calibre visiting Stoke-on-Trent. Now approaching the age of 81, Little Richard has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for six decades.

The singer-songwriter's talents impacted on numerous singers and musicians across the musical genres, from rock to rap, and guess what? - the flame has not diminished - and Little Richard who broke into music in 1948, is still a force to be reckoned with.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932, in Georgia, the star has had many accolades heaped upon him over the years. As well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

His song Tutti Frutti, penned in 1955, was included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2010, claiming the 'unique vocalising over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music'.

His last recorded performance was in March this year at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. There is just no stopping him.

He still has the vitality and raunchy power that gained him an army of avid fans right back in the 60s.

This man is truly a legend, and I am very proud to have met him.

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