Friday, July 28, 2023

Queen tribute Little Richard on The Greatest Live

Queen pay tribute to rock pioneer Little Richard on the latest episode of the weekly series The Greatest Live.

This edition highlights the group’s riotous cover version of the Little Richard classic, “Tutti Frutti”, from a Wembley Stadium performance on their 1986 Magic Tour, a moment that sees the lineup play with the joy of a teenage garage band.

As Brian May told Total Guitar earlier this year, the song was a fitting choice for a band who cut their teeth on the R&B trailblazer.

“When I first heard Little Richard,” recalls May, “it was a moment of shock, but there was also the joy of realizing that people could actually sing that way – they could scream their emotions.”

Starting the song half-hidden in moody blue lighting, with Freddie Mercury supplying finger clicks and falsettos, it briefly seems the band have taken a mellow acoustic approach. Then this cover version explodes into a rocket-fuelled rhythm and blues masterclass, with Roger Taylor laying down his tambourine for thunderous drum fills, while May takes on a ferocious guitar solo. Watch closely, too, for the moment when Freddie mimes a golf swing with his sawn-off mic stand.

The 72,000-strong Wembley crowd’s response says it all, with the entire stadium shouting back Tutti Frutti’s gobbledygook-genius payoff: “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a-lop-bam-boom…!”

Born Richard Penniman, Little Richard died from bone cancer in Nashville, TN in 2020 at the age of 87; read more about his legacy here.

Get your copy of Queen’s “Greatest Hits” here.

See also:

Queen revisit surprise cover songs on The Greatest Live
Queen guitarist Brian May streams Star Fleet video
Queen revisit 1974 performance of Queen II classic
Queen revisit 1982 performance of Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Search Queen at hennemusic