Watch Little Richard Take Over the Stage at the 1994 CMA Awards
Little Richard was a rock 'n' roll pioneer whose music drew on gospel, R&B and more, but he was never associated with country music that much -- that is, until 1994, when he teamed up with Tanya Tucker for a high-energy performance that was one of the most memorable moments from that year's CMA Awards.
Tucker and Little Richard — whose real name was Richard Penniman — joined together for a duet on the Eddie Cochran classic "Somethin' Else" for a special album project titled Rhythm, Country and Blues, which paired top-shelf country and R&B singers for duets on classic songs. The pairings were exceptional, including Vince Gill and Gladys Knight; Al Green and Lyle Lovett; Aaron Neville and Trisha Yearwood; Sam Moore and Conway Twitty; B.B. King and George Jones; and Natalie Cole and Reba McEntire. Rhythm, Country and Blues reached the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart, and also posted a Top 20 showing on the Top R&B Albums and Billboard 200 charts.
Little Richard and Tucker's energetic track was a highlight, and they re-teamed to perform "Somethin' Else" live at the CMA Awards in 1994. Little Richard pounded the piano keys with his trademark energy and punctuated his performance with his signature high-pitched screams, while Tucker's own oversized persona gave his flamboyance a run for the money. The memorable performance lives in perpetuity online, and you can watch it for yourself by clicking on the video at the top of the story.
Rhythm, Country and Blues was among the nominees for CMA Album of the Year that year, losing out to the Eagles tribute album Common Thread. But Little Richard wasn't exactly lacking in career accolades: He was among the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and he received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1993.
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