The Secret Life of Haircutters

Sometimes inspiration flys out of your speakers and hits you like a big bolt of flamboyant lightning! This happens every time I listen to Little Richard.

Now my obsession with Little Richard is well known throughout my friends and family.  I truly believe he was the embodiment of rock and roll.  It’s not even up for discussion at this point.  Quoting Dave Marsh’s (indispensable) The Heart of Rock & Soul: the 1,001 Greatest Singles Ever Made: “Slippin’ and Slidin’… is probably the closest [Little] Richard has ever come to the musical anarchy with which he’s often charged.  The lyric is a batch of barely coherent nonsense, the sax break veers off in all kinds of crazy directions, the tempo would be unsustainable for much longer then the 2:03 this take lasts, and Richard spends the whole time wailing beyond all reason (304).”

Reading between the run-on sentences, what Marsh’s publishers obviously wouldn’t allow him to write: if John Lennon, Art Garfunkel, and Professor Longhair all ejaculated into a cup, and then James Brown drank it, he still wouldn’t be able to out-rock and out-hollar Richard!  The man’s unbeatable!

(Economical too.  Wisely recording only enough great songs to fill one compact disc.  Specialty’s The Georgia Peach.  Really, that album’s the only album you’ll ever need.)

The sign of a great artist isn’t just writing insanely awesome hooks, or earning your record deal off the couplet: “Tutti Frutti/Big ole bootie;” though both will put you well on the way to stardom.  You have to be able to give your song’s introductions that’ll take hours if not days to unravel.

Case in point: “Get Down With It.”  Where Richard’s hair takes the spotlight!

“Well all right everybody/Let your hair down/IfyougotonawiglikesomepeoplethinkIgotonthisismyownbeautifulhairwhatchagonnadowithitfellas?/Take it off!”

That rap hits you before a note is played!  Did people really question the authenticity of Little Richard’s hair? 

Doubting his heterosexuality?  Sure, I can understand that.  He was metro fifty years before its time.  But bouffant haters? Do such people exist?

My love for him has just increased tenfold.  And that’s before I made it to the break in “Never Gonna Let You Go!”


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