It's impossible to over-emphasize the impact Little Richard and the music on his first two albums for Specialty Records from March 1957 and July 1958 had on the future sound of R&B, rock and soul. Here's Little Richard and Little Richard Volume 2 have just about every classic Little Richard side on them. This is the music that influenced and paved the way for the hundreds of beat groups of the 60's, and coupled with the larger-than-life anarchic, excessive and erratic personality of Little Richard himself, is the bedrock spirit of everything that followed in rock 'n' roll, its sound, its image and its energy.
Just count the tracks from these albums that got cover versions: The Beatles, Elvis, Otis, Stones, Springsteen and innumerable others recorded and performed these songs for years and years to come. Otis Redding and James Brown, arguably the two biggest male soul stars the world ever saw, both wore their Richard influence as a medal of honor and Michael Jackson and Prince have long been acknowledged as the carriers of Richard's flaming, otherworldly and showmanistic torch.
This is Rock 'n' Roll in its purest form. The raw musical power contained here has, quite simply never been surpassed, they still compel you to shout and dance and put into their original context of the 1950s they are nothing less than astonishing, because as much as Elvis shook up the world, ultimately he was able to be white, safe and accessible. Not so with Little Richard who remained and remains a free spirit, an enigma and a unique being.