Can’t Help It

More former Dil Tony Kinman from the really good read Left Of The Dial:

“I would not compare the Ramones album to what I consider the single greatest moment of rock ‘n roll history. It’s in Little Richard’s recording of Lucille. Little Richard is screaming so loud that he overdrives his mic. On the hit version, there’s actually distortion recorded on that. I don’t care if you are even recording for a shitty indie punk rock label. Punk rockers would not let that happen, nowadays. That was a major hit song by a major hit performer of the time. I am speechless just thinking about it. To me, that is the single greatest moment because of what it is, which is incredible, how it sounds is great, and because of the context. He’s overdriving the mic, but the way things were back then was, ‘C’mon Richard, that sounds good enough. We’re done here. Let’s go, man, I’m thirsty, or whatever, or we better get to the gig.’ The era, the primitive rock era and the way those guys worked back then. . .And to this day, that song still has more truly astonishing passion and emotion in it, real terrible energy in it, than anything that has come since.”

I can’t hear distortion in this, but I think I know what he means. Maybe it’s shitty youtube or something. I especially like watching the drummer here. He amuses me:

Then, it occurred to me that Little Richard reminded me a lot of a character out of my childhood. Cesar Romero’s Joker (always will be my favorite Joker). The wild eyes, the hair, the maniacal smile. If Romero’s Joker wasn’t at least partially influenced by Little Richard, it’s a helluva coincidence. Even the moustache (which I always loved that Romero kept even under the Joker makeup).

4 thoughts on “Can’t Help It

  1. People, including my wife, still tell me I look like the Cesar Romero Joker when I laugh. I can hear what this guy is talking about but it’s pretty slight as distortion goes – and it may not be distortion at all, just LR’s natural voice. Maybe one of you can tell me what “terrible energy” means. I was thinking maybe a nuclear holocaust would qualify but not Little Richard. In the movie that this comes from, a great one called Don’t Knock The Rock, he pulls off a little bow at the end. On his best behavior.

  2. I loved that term “terrible energy.” A major reason for the post. I take it to mean a level of energy that makes people uncomfortable. Threatening. Over the top.

  3. I get it. It is over the top indeed, like we’re performing an heroic act just by being in the same room. it reminds me of the 70’s “survivor” bullshit, when it was heroic if you didn’t OD.

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