Little Richard, the music icon who died at age 87, spread his unique sound across the world, including at the Olympic Games.
The man born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Ga., was part of a Hall of Fame lineup of musical acts at the 1996 Atlanta Closing Ceremony. In the grand finale, he was preceded by B.B. King.
“We’re going to make their knees freeze, their bladders splatter!” Little Richard said before the Closing Ceremony, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Little Richard, seated at an at-times-moving piano, performed “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally” as athletes from around the world danced in the middle of the Olympic Stadium, which became the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field.
“Is there a man alive crazy enough to want to follow Little Richard?” Bob Costas said on the NBC broadcast. After, Jim Gray interviewed French sprinter Marie-Jose Perec and Al Green performed.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly before the Games, Little Richard said his favorite Olympians were Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton. He was also asked what sport he would add to the program.
“They should add the Tutti Frutti to the Olympics,” he said, according to EW. “That’s out of Georgia, and since it’s the Peach State, we’ll play it with peaches. We’ll knock peaches over the net, and whoever gets the ripest peach, they win the game. Little Richard’s gonna invite everybody to come down to play the Tutti Frutti game at the Olympics.”
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