Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Paul McCartney Learned ‘Everything He Knows’ From This 1950s Rock Star

Paul McCartney Learned ‘Everything He Knows’ From This 1950s Rock Star

Paul McCartney is arguably one of the world’s most influential musicians. But even legends have teachers, and his was Little Richard. 

The former Beatles singer has admitted his many musical inspirations in past interviews. In 2007, he told Classic Rock that he grew up idolizing Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, and Lead Belly. But he admitted that his tastes would often change, so he’d be flippant about who he loved at the moment. 

While the Grammy winner slowly built his own style around his long list of favorites, Little Richard became the only singer who remained at the top of that list. On May 10, 2020, just after Little Richard died, McCartney admitted that he owes his career to the man. 

“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,” he wrote on X (Twitter at the time). “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’.”

Paul McCartney Remembered First Meeting Little Richard

In the comment section, McCartney recalled playing at a venue in Hamburg with Little Richard. During that time, he and his Beatles bandmates got to know the icon. And Little Richard let them take part in his pre-concert traditions.

“He would let us hang out in his dressing room,” he continued. “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 humor and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more.”

As Paul McCartney mentioned as far back as his 2007 interview, Little Richard was always a constant on his record player, and his respect for the singer never waned.

“I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend,” he concluded. “Goodbye Richard and a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.’ – Paul McCartney.”

Little Richard died on May 9, 2020, after struggling with bone cancer, according to Rolling Stones. He was 87.