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Little Richard Michael Jackson

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Before entering the tenth grade, Penniman left his family home and joined Dr. Hudson's Medicine Show in 1949, performing Louis Jordan's "Caldonia". Penniman recalled the song was the first secular R&B song he learned, since his family had strict rules against playing R&B music, which they considered "devil music. " Penniman also performed in drag during this time, performing under the name "Princess LaVonne". In 1950, Penniman joined his first musical band, Buster Brown's Orchestra, where Brown gave him the name Little Richard. Performing in the minstrel show circuit, Penniman, in and out of drag, performed for various vaudeville acts such as Sugarfoot Sam from Alabam, the Tidy Jolly Steppers, the King Brothers Circus and Broadway Follies. Having settled in Atlanta, Georgia at this point, Penniman began listening to rhythm and blues and frequented Atlanta clubs, including the Harlem Theater and the Royal Peacock where he saw performers such as Roy Brown and Billy Wright onstage. Penniman was further influenced by Brown's and Wright's flashy style of showmanship and was even more influenced by Wright's flamboyant persona and showmanship. Inspired by Brown and Wright, Penniman decided to become a rhythm and blues singer and after befriending Wright, began to learn how to be an entertainer from him, and began adapting a pompadour hairdo similar to Wright's, as well as styling a pencil mustache, using Wright's brand of facial pancake makeup and wearing flashier clothes.



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