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Little Richard turns 80: Never-before-seen pictures

  • little richard Life 660.jpg

    Little Richard poses in 1971.LIFE.com

  • Little Richard 2 660 Life.jpg

    Little Richard poses in 1971.LIFE.com

  • Little Richard1 Life 660.jpg

    Little Richard poses in 1971.LIFE.com

  • Little Richard3 Life 660.jpg

    Little Richard poses in 1971.LIFE.com

“Good Golly Miss Molly” it’s hard to believe Little Richard is 80 years old today.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman, he first burst onto the music scene in the 1950s with hits like “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.” And the Georgia native has been a music icon ever since.

PHOTOS: Little Richard in the 70s

His original fans remember his early days, filled with sequins, fringe and other bold style choices. In the never-before-seen pictures above, Penniman is shown posing for a Life magazine photographer in 1971, joking and having fun in front of the camera.

And since his early days, Penniman has gathered plenty of new fans throughout his many years in the spotlight. In the 90s, he appeared on shows like “Full House” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and he appealed to an entirely new fan base with the hit “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Today, the now 80-year-old superstar still performs and records music.

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