Male Gaze: The Architect of Rock and Roll

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Photo: Corbis

On Little Richard’s 80th birthday, let us take a moment to appreciate the Architect of Rock and Roll: a man with skin that would launch 1,000 retinol commercials, eyebrows that could cut glass, and that hair — oh, that wondrous hair — a wig/mullet hybrid that is quite possibly the greatest do in show business. As one of the first true musical icons, his hits like “Tutti Frutti” took the world by storm with strong sexual innuendo and fast tempos. A lesson in fearlessly flaunting personal style, Little Richard went from sexy orgies and class A drug problems to devout Evangelism without ever losing his signature falsetto or flamboyance. And, really, it would have been a sad world to grow up in without a little “A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-wop-bam-boom!”