Tuesday, May 12, 2020

RIP (it up) Little Richard

As well as being the ignition point for it all, Little Richard also provided the title for the best book about rock and roll and the Fifties-Sixties POP! explosion.

And Little Richard appears on the cover (albeit the back cover).

That's the UK paperback version. The original hardback had a different title - rather neutral and coolly professional in tone (and thus deceptive - the opposite of the contents).

Although perhaps the cover image itself gives the game away.

Then the book came out in America with a slightly different title

But Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is what the book should be called - since it's all about the SHOUT!!!, the LOUDness of early rock and roll, the cry of joy that bypasses sense with its wordless eloquence, the blast and the bolt that jolted a generation alive.

Superpop, Cohn named it -  noise that spurred his writing to mirror the impatient and impulsive movement of the music itself...  that didn't wait to do its research properly, to gather in the dusty facts for a responsible accounting. "My purpose was simple: to catch the feel, the pulse of rock, as I had lived through it. What I was after was guts, and flash, and energy, and speed."

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is what the book deserved to be called. Even though only some of its pages are about Little Richard, the existence of the book, with that title, is the greatest tribute he'll ever receive.