"Tutti Frutti" was the first rock & roll record where America got to hear an African-American gospel singer (Richard Penniman) sing with the brakes off. No amount of R&B crooning prepared the nation for the kind of culture shock that greeted most of them when the needle hit the disc and Little Richard started howling on the family phonograph; there had simply been nothing like him before this. Even his own earlier sides for RCA and Peacock only gave a glimmer of the boiled-over madness that seeped from this performance. It all signaled the coming of rock & roll to the mainstream, spelling out R&R in blood red letters; this was not a record to be middle of the road about, it had its opponents who saw it as the beginning of the end of civilization as they knew it. Elvis Presley's cover version (which wasn't issued until a year after Richard's version had finished its chart run) flushed the song even further into the mainstream, making the song synonymous with the '50s juvenile delinquent movement. Unfortunately, the intervening years of constantly being used in '50s revival skits and movies has robbed the song of much of its bombastic power, making the song now no more potent than "At the Hop" or any other "happy days sock hop" icons of the ground floor days of the music.