Little Richard’s death made me think of something about the rock and roll of the fifties in general, which is that for a lot of rock fans, the music of that era is something of a niche taste that is fairly remote from their general interest in music.
Most people I know who are interested in music will explore rock music going back as far as the middle sixties, but rarely seem interested in the pre-Beatles era. This goes for a lot of people like me who got interested in music in the early seventies, and might go back and listen to Forever Changes, or the twenty somethings I know who might get into Led Zeppelin or Joni Mitchell. But further back? Even on this site, how often is Richard Penniman mentioned compared to, say, Richard Thompson?
I’m not trying to detract from the enjoyment that anyone gets from that music, or the influence it’s had. It’s just that here just seems to a cultural continuity which started in the sixties and goes onto today, leaving aside music of only a few years earlier. I’d say it was a paradigm shift, if I was sure I knew what that meant.