Little Richard songs in movies: rounding up 5 classics

The world of music is in mourning for Little Richard, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 87.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman, Little Richard is considered the founding father of rock and roll, acting as a profound influence on the later likes of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

Unsurprisingly given his stature, Little Richard was a regular fixture on our favourite movie soundtracks. Here are five examples of his unforgettable style.

1. 'Long Tall Sally' – Predator (1987)

The vast majority of this claustrophobic Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller is propelled along by Alan Silvestri's muscular score. But there's also room for a blast of Little Richard, as we're introduced to the various commandos who will later become sport for the titular alien hunter.

The musician's raucous 'Long Tall Sally' accompanies the helicopter drop scene, which offers our first look at the likes of Mac (Bill Duke) and Billy (Sonny Landham). The song perfectly encapsulates the macho bravado of these hardened operatives – which only makes the later descent into fear all the more palpable.

2. 'Casper the Friendly Ghost ' – Casper (1995)

As with Predator, Casper's emotional impact primarily resides in an original score (in this case, from the late, great James Horner). But the filmmakers turned to Little Richard to pen an original outro number, named 'Casper the Friendly Ghost' in homage to the title character's comic book origins.

After an emotional finale that features all manner of recriminations, farewells and goodbyes, it's good to see out the end credits with a funky blast of rock and roll. Plus, Casper's trouble-making uncles get in on the fun with guitars, sax and a drum kit.

3. 'Slippin' and Slidin'' – Casino (1995)

There's only a sliver of Little Richard's music in Martin Scorsese's mob classic, but it definitely makes an impact. This sprawling three-hour account of Las Vegas greed and corruption is stacked with rock hits, from The Rolling Stones to The Animals. But it's Little Richard's 'Slippin' and Slidin'' that cues up a fateful meeting between the two central characters.

As Robert De Niro's casino manager Ace Rothstein watches glamorous hooker Ginger (Sharon Stone) steal poker chips on CCTV, the raspy, lusty tones of Little Richard's voice make it clear how immediately infatuated Ace has become. Of course, it doesn't end well.

4. 'Rip It Up' – The Expendables 2 (2012)

If you're going to engage in a mass shootout, at least do it in style. In the second of the Sly Stallone-fronted action movies, we're witness to a bullet-ridden stand-off to the sound of Little Richard's 'Rip It Up'.

Both the name of the song and its rambunctious rhythm are appropriate for a movie that emphasises testosterone and nostalgia for its cast, including Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van-Damme.

5. 'Lucille' – Green Book (2018)

The toast of the 2018 Oscar season, Green Book recounts a life-changing real-life journey between an Italian-American chauffeur and a black classical musician. Of course, the feel-good movie takes a lot of liberties with the story, but Viggo Mortensen and an Oscar-winning Mahershala Ali are superb in the central roles of Tony and Don Shirley.

Given that the movie is set in the early 1960s and takes us on a tour of the deep south, music plays an important role. Little Richard's rockabilly touchstone 'Lucille' is one of many crowdpleasing hits that punctuates Tony and Shirley's steadily evolving friendship.

What's your favourite example of a Little Richard song in a movie? Let us know @Cineworld.