Varèse Sarabande and Craft Recordings announce the release of Little Richard: I Am Everything: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring music from Lisa Cortés’ award-winning documentary. The album offers a 14-track collection of Little Richard’s best-loved hits, such as “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” “Rip It Up,” and “Long Tall Sally,” plus two previously-unreleased covers from Valerie June and Cory Henry, and a piece from the film’s original score, composed by Tamar-kali. The soundtrack is available today to stream or download on all digital platforms, with the CD format arriving in September 2023, and the vinyl coming December 2023. Alongside the black LP which will be available wide, fans can also find a Tutti Frutti-color pressing of the album exclusively at VareseSarabande.com and CraftRecordings.com.
Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and (HBO) Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortés’ Sundance 2023 opening night documentary tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock ’n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions. In interviews with Little Richard’s family and friends, legendary musicians and artists like Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Billy Porter, Paul McCartney, Nile Rodgers, John Waters, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars, the film reveals how the architect of rock ’n’ roll created an art form for ultimate self-expression; yet, what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself.
In the early ’50s, Little Richard (born Richard Penniman) combined the spirit of church music, the bawdiness of blues and the swing of New Orleans jazz and turned it into something altogether new: rock ’n’ roll. It wasn’t until the Macon, Georgia native signed to Art Rupe’s Specialty Records at the age of 23, however, that Little Richard truly developed his signature sound and over-the-top persona. Having taken several years out of the spotlight to focus on religion, Little Richard returned to his rock ’n’ roll roots in the early ’60s. This period kicked off with a successful European tour, followed by a new record contract with Vee-Jay Records. His first release with the label was 1964’s Little Richard Is Back — a triumphant collection of old favorites and new tunes, with a backing band that featured a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Richard’s second and final studio release with Vee-Jay was 1965’s His Greatest Hits. Despite the name, this album is not a compilation, but rather features the singer revisiting his classic hits nearly a decade later, introducing new arrangements and instrumentation. One of the first artists to be inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Little Richard’s status as one of the most influential recording artists of all time has been cemented by a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1993 GRAMMY® Awards, inductions into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2003), the NAACP Image Awards’ Hall of Fame (2002), and the Blues Hall of Fame in June of 2015. In 2010, Little Richard was listed as number eight in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” while also that year, the Library of Congress inducted “Tutti Frutti,” the song that started it all, into its National Recording registry, proclaiming that the song “announced a new era in music.”