Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Great Gosh A'Mighty! (It's a Matter of Time)" by Little Richard

Song#:  2647
Date:  03/08/1986
Debut:  87
Peak:  42
Weeks:  10
Genre:  R&B, Rock 'n' Roll, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Rock 'n' roll pioneer and legend Richard Penniman, aka Little Richard, first became a star following the release of his 1955 classic "Tutti Frutti" (#2 R&B/#21 Pop). A string of hits would follow throughout the 50s including "Long Tall Sally" (1956, #1 R&B/#13 Pop), "Lucille" (1957, #1 R&B/#27 Pop), and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" (1958, #4 R&B, #10 Pop). In all, Little Richard would score fourteen R&B Top 10's including three #1's. But as the 60s approached, the hits dried up and he turned to gospel music. A 1962 European tour brought him back around to rock music and his popularity soared overseas. At home his career floundered, but around 1968 he got back on track thanks to appearances on TV and at some major music festivals. It culminated in his 1970 album The Rill Thing, which featured the minor hit "Freedom Blues" (#28 R&B/#47 Pop). The remainder of the 70s was up-n-down for Richard and by the end of the decade he once again left behind rock for gospel. Then in 1985, he was offered a role in the upcoming Paul Mazursky comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills, which was to star Nick Nolte, Bette Midler, and Richard Dreyfuss. Richard accepted the role and then also wrote this faith-based theme song for the film with Billy Preston. The film would be a big hit and the theme song would be issued out as a single. While the song would not reach the R&B chart, it did become his first solo entry on the Pop chart since 1970. The song stopped just short of making the Top 40. While not a huge hit, the song and his appearance in the film revived his career and he has remained a popular musician and entertainment personality since then. Little Richard was among those chosen to be the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it first opened in 1986.

ReduxReview:  Every now and then an old school rock 'n' roll tune catches folk's attention and Little Richard was able to grab some listeners with this track. It probably helped quite a bit that it was featured in a hit film and that Richard got some great notices for his performance in it. The lyrics are very, very vaguely religious and probably most people didn't pick up on that as they were concentrating on Richard just rockin' out. It is definitely a throwback to what Richard always did best and he demonstrated that he could still easily do it thirty-one years after his first hit.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Two future music stars were once members of Little Richard's band. Billy Preston became a band member in 1962. He wouldn't stay for long, but the two remained friends and occasionally worked together, as they did co-writing this song. Preston would score five Pop Top 10 hits in the 70s including two #1's. He was also well associated with The Beatles, whom he met when the new band opened a few dates for Little Richard's European tour in 1963. In 1964, guitarist Jimi Hendrix joined Richard's band. It was a tumultuous relationship and after about 6 months, Hendrix left the band (or by some accounts was fired). Hendrix would later be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band in 1992.  2) Down and Out in Beverly Hills is basically an American remake of a 1932 Jean Renoir French film titled Boudu sauvĂ© des eaux (or translated Boudu Saved from Drowning), which itself was adapted from a 1919 play by the same title. It was the first film from a Disney studio (Touchstone) to receive an R rating. It was Bette Midler's first hit after her Oscar nominated role in 1979's The Rose. She would spend the remainder of the decade doing five more successful films for Disney/Touchstone including the popular 1988 weepie Beaches, which spawned a hugely successful soundtrack thanks to Midler's #1 hit "Wind Beneath My Wings."


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