About the song
If you are a fan of rock and roll music, you probably know the song “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard, one of the pioneers of the genre. But do you know the story behind this classic hit? In this blog post, we will provide detailed information about this song, its origins, its impact and its legacy.
The song was written by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Little Richard himself. Blackwell was a producer and songwriter who worked with Little Richard at Specialty Records, a label that specialized in rhythm and blues music. Johnson was a local songwriter who had a connection with a popular disc-jockey named Honey Chile. Little Richard was the stage name of Richard Penniman, a flamboyant singer and pianist from Georgia who had a distinctive voice and style.
Blackwell and Little Richard liked the idea of a fast-paced song with catchy lyrics, so they decided to work on it and add more verses and a chorus. They also changed the name of the girl from Sally to Long Tall Sally, to make it rhyme better. They wanted to create a song that was so up-tempo and the lyrics so fast that Pat Boone, a white singer who had covered Little Richard’s previous hit “Tutti Frutti”, would not be able to handle it.
The song was recorded on February 7, 1956 at J&M Studio in New Orleans, with Little Richard on vocals and piano, Lee Allen on tenor saxophone, Alvin “Red” Tyler on baritone saxophone, Frank Fields on bass, Earl Palmer on drums and Edgar Blanchard on guitar. The session was supervised by Blackwell, who also played some percussion instruments.
The song was released as a single in March 1956, backed with another Little Richard song called “Slippin’ and Slidin’”. It was an instant success, reaching number one on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues chart and number six on the pop chart. It also received the Cash Box Triple Crown Award in 1956, which recognized songs that topped three different charts: jukebox plays, sales and radio airplay.
The song has been covered by hundreds of artists over the years, including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac and many more. It has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, such as American Graffiti, Predator, Grease 2, Happy Days and The Simpsons.
The song is listed at number 55 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.