New Little Richard doc tells all —sex, drugs and bible thumping

In his 1958 classic “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” Little Richard wailed about a bad girl who “sure like to ball.”

But no doubt — it was the late rock legend who was a sex fiend himself.

“I had all these orgies going on,” he reveals in the new documentary “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” which has a special one-night-only opening in theaters on Tuesday before hitting additional cinemas and pay-per-view on April 21.

He was thirsty for both men and women: “I just loved whatever came. You know, I didn’t refuse nothin’ if you knocked on my door and I wanted more. Fo sho.”

But the artist known as the architect of rock and roll — who left his eyelinered imprint on everyone from Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Elton John, David Bowie and Prince — was as deeply religious as he was raunchy.

Just as his music — and hits such as “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Lucille” — was by turns R&B and pop, Little Richard himself vacillated from gender-bending to God-fearing.

“You know, he’s on a roller coaster,” director Lisa Cortés, who started working on “Little Richard” shortly after his 2020 death, told The Post.

Little Richard in 1956.
In 1956, Little Richard was starting a rock-and-roll revolution that influenced everyone from the Mick Jagger to Prince.
Alamy Stock Photo

“He loves God, but he doesn’t think that God can love him as a queer rock-and-roller. And so throughout his life, he is trying to navigate how to be in those two spaces — the sacred and the profane.”

Born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia, in 1932, Little Richard had a slight deformity that left one leg and arm shorter than the other.

As a teenager, he was kicked out of his father’s house for being gay, and another queer black artist — Esquerita — taught him how to play the piano.

He got his name with one of his first big singing gigs — a stint with Buster Brown’s Orchestra in 1950.

Around the same time, he also performed in drag as Princess LaVonne, even though homosexuality was illegal.

Little Richard in 1966.
Little Richard (pictured in 1966) learned how to play the piano from Esquerita, another black queer artist.
Getty Images

But Little Richard got his big break with 1955’s “Tutti Frutti,” whose original lyrics were highly sexual — “Tutti Frutti, good booty.”

The documentary recounts how songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie was brought in to clean up the lyrics for radio play with the “Tutti Frutti, oh rooty” refrain we all know today.

In 1957, Little Richard had what he perceived as a near-death experience while flying to Sydney, Australia, on tour.

He had a vision of angels holding up the plane while it was on fire that deeply affected him.

A collage of Little Richard
Little Richard went from bed-hopping to Bible-thumping during his legendary life.
Michael Ochs Archives

It “felt like God was speaking to me,” said Little Richard, who went on to enroll in Oakwood College, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Huntsville, Alabama.

He started referring to his recordings as “devil’s music” and vowed to buy them back from fans to burn them in a bonfire.

But, in the 1960s, he revived his rock-and-roll antics to keep up his expensive lifestyle — having various sexcapades while abusing cocaine, PCP and heroin. Still, he remained conflicted

“There were times I went and slept in the bathroom, ‘cause the rest of the suite was full of naked people,” his former road manager Keith Winslow says in the film. “And he’d be sitting there with the Bible right there beside him. And every now and then he’d quote a [scripture].”

He also took both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones under his wing before they hit it big.

Dick Clark and Little Richard in 1964.
In 1964, Little Richard told Dick Clark about how he influenced the Beatles after he took the Fab Four under his wing.
Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Paul McCartney even stole his “whoooo!” heard on “I Saw Her Standing There” from Richard.

“All my screaming numbers were to do with him,” McCartney says in an interview featured in the doc.  

Similarly, Mick Jagger learned how to work the entire stage by studying Little Richard.

“I would be by the side of the stage, like, every night to watch him,” he says in the film.

But in 1977, his brother Tony died of a heart attack, leading Little Richard to again turn to religion — and even renounce his queerness.

Little Richard
The complex life of Little Richard is explored by director Lisa Cortes in the new doc “Little Richard: I Am Everything.”

“God let me know that he made Adam to be with Eve, not Steve!” he said in a 1982 interview with David Letterman.

“At the end of his life, he stops going back and forth between rock and roll and religion. And he really dedicates himself to the Lord,” Cortes said.

But the musical legacy of Little Richard — who was part of the first class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 1986 — lives on today. 

“If we don’t have Little Richard,” said Cortes, “you don’t have Lil Nas X, you don’t have Harry Styles.”

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