"The home of Rock icon Little Richard, et al." Top 5 Page for this destination Macon by etfromnc

Macon Travel Guide: 65 reviews and 84 photos

Little Richard is one of the most unusual personalities in American entertainment. His original name was Richard Wayne Penniman. Over an 18-month period in the mid-1950s, he hit the charts with "Tutti Frutti," "The Girl Can't Help It," "Slippin' and Slidin,''" "Ready Teddy," "Rip It Up," perhaps his biggest hit "Lucille," and two or three others. At that point, some people think that the drugs must have gotten to him. About 1956 or 1957, he simply quit recording and touring as a rock star.

Several years later, after a spiritual experience in Australia, he tried to become a preacher. At varying intervals since, he has drifted back and forth between his original role as a far-out rock star and a preacher, without subsequent notable success in either realm. Perhaps his greatest achievement in the past 20 years was playing at Bill Clinton's first presidential inaugural gala in 1993.

In some ways, he was a pioneer as a black performer. He was quite a star on what was often referred to as "the chitlin circuit" in the 1940s and 1950s. The chitlin circuit was a network of black performers and black-owned nightspots in the South and some major Northern cities. Little Richard was one of the first to break the barrier into mainstream (at that time white) venues. If you happen to hear anything that he recorded in the late 1950s or 1960s, listen carefully. One of the sounds in the background just might be Jimi Hendrix, who played in his band for a time before moving out on his own.

Little Richard was one of the original members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When in Macon, stop by the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He is also a member of it, although he was not so honored until six years after being elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Otis Redding was also a son of Macon and there is a bridge in town named after him. His father (Otis,Sr.) worked at Robbins Air Force Base during the week and preached at the Vineville Baptist Church on Sundays. Many younger fans of mid-20th century music may not be aware that Otis, Junior's biggest hit, (Sittin' on) "The Dock of the Bay," was not released until after his death in a 1967 airplane crash. He is buried outside Macon on his family's spread.

His untimely passing may have been the event which allowed The Allman Brothers to reach the level of fame which they eventually did. They were a mostly unknown Florida club-group when Otis Redding's manager began looking for an act to replace him. The manager, Phil Walden, signed the Allmans, they moved to Macon, and the rest is history.

If you would like to really step back into the Old South go to the corner of Plant and Jeff Davis (Yes, they memorialize everybody.) streets. On a warm day you may find up to a couple dozen older gentlemen socializing, playing checkers, and more than willing to swap yarns of Macon's music in the good ol' days.

For additional info on Macon and the surrounding area, please contact the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau at:
(800) 768-3401 or
www.maconga.org

  • Last visit to Macon: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Nov 27, 2006
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