Bob Dylan Memorializes Little Richard: “I’m So Grieved”

"He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy"

Bob Dylan and Little Richard
Bob Dylan and Little Richard circa 1958

    The influence of Little Richard can be felt across the entire spectrum of modern music: just look at the countless number of artists, many of whom are legends in their own right, who took time to memorialize Richard following news of his passing on Saturday. Even the notoriously private Bob Dylan issued a rare statement to honor the rock music pioneer.

    “I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved,” Dylan wrote in a message posted to his social media channels. “He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.”

    “I played some shows with him in Europe in the early nineties and got to hang out in his dressing room a lot. He was always generous, kind and humble,” Dylan went on to remember. “And still dynamite as a performer and a musician and you could still learn plenty from him.


    “In his presence he was always the same Little Richard that I first heard and was awed by growing up and I always was the same little boy,” Dylan concluded. “Of course he’ll live forever. But it’s like a part of your life is gone.”

    Dylan isn’t exaggerating when he calls Little Richard his “guiding light”. He was particularly obsessed with Little Richard during his high school years; so much so, in fact, that Dylan wrote in his yearbook that his goal was “to join Little Richard.” He also covered Little Richard’s songs “Jenny, Jenny, Jenny” and “True Fine Mama” during his first-ever public performance for his high school’s talent show (as legend has it, the school’s principal pulled the plug because Dylan and his band played so loud). Dylan’s performance of “Jenny, Jenny, Jenny” in 1958 also serves as one of his earliest known recordings.

    Aside from Dylan, the likes of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, Cyndi Lauper, Ringo Starr, and Nile Rodgers have all penned tributes in remembrance of Little Richard.

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