Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography” as Want to Read:
The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  51 reviews
The classic authorized biography that told it all. When Little Richard burst onto the scene in the early 1950s, he sounded like nothing on earth. Drenched in sweat, screaming, hollering and pumping his piano, his stage act was so explosive that for years people assumed the real man could never match the flamboyant public image. Then came Charles White's sensational book ex ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Omnibus Press (first published January 1985)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Life and Times of Little Richard, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Life and Times of Little Richard

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  411 ratings  ·  51 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography
Paul Bryant
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RIP Little Richard 1932-2020, one of the original primal forces of rock and roll

This is Nik Cohn on the subject of Little Richard:

He looked beautiful. He wore a baggy suit with elephant trousers, 26 inches at the bottoms, and he had his hair back-combed in a monstrous plume like a fountain. Then he had a little toothbrush moustache and a round, totally ecstatic face.

He’d scream and scream and scream. He had a freak voice, tireless, hysterical, completely indestructible, and he never in his life
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Little Richard fans (duh!)
Shelves: rock-sleaze
Little Richard is incapable of being dull, he's incapable of making a bad record, and he's incapable of being in a lousy book. Richard's pretty open in this book, talking about his orgies with Buddy Holly and the army of young men at his beck and call. But don't worry, he quotes scriptures too! ...more
Melanie  H
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Now this is summer reading my friends - pooping in jars, men dressing in women's clothes, and oh what glorious music. This is a man that truly changed popular culture and how much money he was denied because of the color of his skin.

Genius. Craaaazy. Genius trumps all.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Little Richard WAS the life force incarnate. I mean he probably still is, but especially back in the day.
Ethan Miller
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure that Charles White wrote or put together a 5 star Biography here (maybe 4 star) but the tales that Little Richard tells in this book are so ecstatic, so openly and gleefully perverse you really have to read it to believe it. The raw, uncut, shocking recounts as told by Little Richard are definitely 5 star (most of the content of this book is transcribed interviews with Richard in his own voice). I read sections of this book out loud in the tour van to a gang of decades long hardened ...more
Christopher Roth
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I must say that this is a stunning portrait of a true musical genius. At the beginning of the book I was full of admiration for his out-of-the-closet bisexuality (with a tilt toward the gay end of the spectrum), so courageous and untypical for someone of his time and place. By the end, though, with him claiming to have been "cured" of his homosexuality (which he regards as a social contagion, not as a congenital identity) by evangelical Christianity. I am, of course, more sympathetic with the po ...more
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this before going to see Little Richard play at the Riverside Casino. Screaming, wailing, blow jobs, pooping in jars, a sky-high pompadour...rock n' roll would have never been the same without him. ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought it was quite open and a good read. It's truly eye opening, even to a music lover like myself. YOu learn just how many people Richard influenced and or worked with: The Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, etc!

I recommend this book to anyone who claims to love Rock N Roll.
A.C. Lamberty
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This would be such a good biopic.....someone get Dee Rees’s assistant on the line I wanna do an avail check
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a quick read. I should probably have said four stars instead of three, but that's my rating right now. How about 3.5 stars?
Is it worth reading? Those curious about the early history of rock and roll will love it.

There is a lot of info here as it is told mostly in first person by Little Richard himself. There are sections scattered between his historical recollections from his mother, sisters, brothers and various band members and former managers.

This book pulls no punches. If talk of e
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Rock n Roll
Wow, Little Richard is pretty straight forward in this book. I'll write more when I'm finished.
An interesting life. The book is written such that the author provides certain details then asks Little Richard, his family members and some people close to him to give personal accounts. It shows a man fighting with duality while sharing vast amounts of energy with his audience. Most of this book was really engaging.
I have to say that I was not very interested in the chapter where Little Richard spou
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was the best book I read in 2011. It's wacky and weird yet honest and perfect. Little Richard played a huge part in inventing rock and roll and his autobiography tells the story of his journey in the music industry during a racially-charged era. This has some really shocking moments, he really doesn't hold back on any of his sexual exploits. You really get a feeling for what it was like and how many people he actually influenced. My favorite part of this book is how he describes the energy ...more
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
What's interesting about Little Richard is his character, his music, its effect on the country and on other musicians, the relationships everyone had, and the scene that revolved around them. I thought the telling of Little Richard's remarkable life story could have benefited from a more remarkable narrative setting than a flat chronology of record sales and business breakups with Bumps Blackwell. I did, however, enjoy the sections of oral biography, and occasionally contrasting memories of the ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I first picked this up, I opened it at random pages and found something ridiculously awesome each time. Way over the top, he holds nothing back in this. It is primarily told in an oral history format, with narration by LR and then some cheesy and melodramatic interludes by Charles White. I enjoyed this quite a bit, except for the last couple of chapters, which were a bummer.
Amazing that someone so talented and so "out" could have brought us through rock and roll at a time when the US was still filled with racial tension and great degrees of intolerance. This is an inspiring presentation not only of Little Richard, but of his supportive mother, the South, and the struggle for individualism and affirmation. ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Little Richard is the best and the real king of rock & roll. This biography is pretty poorly written though. The only thing that saves it is Little Richard's crazy lifestyle and personality. It's made up of third-person biography and first person accounts mostly from Little Richard (which are the best parts). ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading about Little Richard's journey through music, religion & life. He is one of my idols & it was great to learn more about him--the good, bad & in between. He's been through a lot and has had quite an interesting life. ...more
Jennifer Royan
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bowies-top-100
Picked this up because it was on Bowie's top books. Really blown-away by the writing style of Mr. White. It reads like a documentary with cutaways to multiple interviewees. Sad insights on Richard's viewpoint of his own sexuality. ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: o'verybody i know.
wow. amazing! little richard, what an amazing story. much respect. if you don't get hooked after the first 25 pages, i'd like to talk. ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Kelly by: Shannon
Little Richard did some crazy shit. And I mean that very, very literally.
Dec 07, 2008 added it
Dale Stonehouse
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Knock knock. Who's there? Yucky.

Great man, great story, interesting book, especially for white Americans who didn't hear the music or see the man in his youth.
Kevin G
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10 Words (or less) Review: The REAL King of Rock 'n' Roll. ...more
Konrad Crnkovic
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's all there - debauchery, religion and rock and roll. ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very real biography. What a guy!
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Still one of the best, and craziest Rock & Roll biographies ever!
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Little Richard, so dirty, then so Christian and preachy.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Geoff Pickering
weird. seems way fake-but entertaining
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys
  • How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
  • The Chiffon Trenches
  • Role Models
  • The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
  • The New Me
  • Dying To Tell
  • Now Dig This!: Art & Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980
  • The Beauty
  • The Cities of Dead (The Casquette Girls, #3)
  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
  • The Elementary Particles
  • Franz Kafka: a biography
  • Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century
  • Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History Of Punk In Toronto And Beyond 1977-1981
  • Platform
  • Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
This si Charles^^^^^^White.

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
161 likes · 41 comments
“I didn't know that homosexuality was wrong until I read it in the Bible.” 1 likes
“The blues are beautiful. It’s a distillation of black America. It’s a cultural heart. It says so much for Afro-Americans, North American Afro people. And it must have something, ’cos it swept the world in many forms, including country-and-western, which I love.” 0 likes
More quotes…