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Despite having some of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll fame in the world, Little Richard has one regret: He didn’t share Christ with others as he should.
“If I had my life to do over again, I would be ‘Little Richard the Preacher,’ standing out on street corners” declaring God’s Word, he said in an interview with Three Angels Broadcasting Network.
Little Richard had found God several times before, but drifted away from Him to instead pursue his fame and fortune. He grew up attending New Hope Baptist Church with his mother and grandmother, though, so he had a religious base he could always come back to.
In late 1957, Little Richard had an encounter with God that changed his life while on tour in Australia. On a flight in the country, he saw a vision of angels holding up the plane’s engines and wings. Later while performing in Sydney, he saw a red fireball shoot across the sky which he took as a sign of God. Little Richard shocked the world when he canceled the remainder of his tour to pursue Christian ministry.
As a result, Richard returned to the United States 10 days earlier than was scheduled. The original plane he was supposed to be on crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and all 44 passengers and crew members were killed. He took it as further confirmation to get right with God.
While this was a profound moment in Little Richard’s life, it didn’t last. In the sixties and seventies, Little Richard was arrested for sexual misconduct and developed a severe cocaine habit. He released the gospel album, God’s Beautiful City, in 1979, after finding Christ yet again. The devil was ruthless, though, and Little Richard fell victim to his party life again through the 2000s.
Little Richard held his last show at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas during Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend in March 2013. “That was my last performance. When God touches your life you don’t want that no more. I don’t want to sing rock and roll no more. I want to be holy like Jesus,” he told 3ABN.
Little Richard once had Jimi Hendrix as his guitar player, and the Beatles and Rolling Stones as opening acts on his tours finally denounced the Hollywood lifestyle for good. It’s a reminder to us all that no matter how many times you lose your way, or how many sins you commit, you can find God again. You just have to look.
“You see, rock ‘n’ roll music does not glorify God. There are rock ‘n’ roll people that are possessed, that know they are possessed. Then there are some that are possessed and don’t realize it. I was one…You got to remember that the devil was a master musician. He sang four voices at one time. He was Lucifer the archangel. He was the director of the heavenly choir, so he’s more successful working through entertainers and musicians,” he said to the Boston Globe.
“I’ve asked God I want to be a walking Bible…I cut off my crown of hair for a crown of life. I gave up rock ‘n’ roll for the Rock of Ages.”
In his final years, Little Richard would read the Bible between three and six hours a day.
“You know, some people say I lost my mind. Well, that’s the truth. I lost my mind and Jesus took it.”