Little Richard was renowned for his incredible stage presence and musical talent. Sadly, the singer’s son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the singer’s death on May 9, 2020, aged 87. He performed countless times with Welsh songster Sir Tom Jones – but were the pair actually friends?
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Sir Tom Jones is known for having many famous friends, regaling fans with tales of his relationships with Elvis and the like on ITV show The Voice.
He has also been frank about his wild days when he moved to the USA, which saw him bed a reported 250 women a year at his career height.
The singer even knew Michael Jackson, having entertained the singer and his sister LaToya in his LA mansion.
But for Sir Tom, one of the most famous acquaintances he ever made was with one of his idols: Little Richard.
In November last year, Sir Tom opened up about his friendship with Little Richard, who had at the time retired from performing and was left bedridden by a hip operation.
Speaking to The Mirror, he explained the true extent of their friendship, which saw Little Richard singing down the phone to his mate.
Sir Tom said: “He busted his hip and it hasn’t fixed properly so I went to see him in Tennessee.
“I’ve called him up from time to time to ask how he is. He sang Strange Things Happening Every Day on the phone. It sounded great.
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“I told him I always finish my show with that song and he told whoever was in the room, ‘Oh my soul. Tom Jones does that song every night.’”
In fact, speaking to The Independent in 2012, Sir Tom revealed one of his biggest regrets in life came when he had an opportunity to perform with Little Richard, but declined to do so.
He said: “One night in 1965, I was in this club in Los Angeles watching Little Richard perform.
“My visa had run out a few days previously, and my manager had advised me not to do anything that might constitute work.
“Halfway through the show, Richard invited me up on stage. He was on fire that night, and I wanted to help him rip all hell out of that tune, but I didn’t.
“I just stood there, shaking my head, like I was convinced the moment I opened my mouth, Immigration would appear.
“I tell you, I still think about that sometimes. That’s a regret.”
With that being said, Sir Tom later had Little Richard on his TV show, This Is Tom Jones, meaning he eventually got to sing a classic tune with his idol.
The death of Little Richard, born Richard Wayne Penniman, was confirmed by his son Danny on May 9, 2020, to Rolling Stone, but no cause of death has yet been revealed.
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