Larry Williams, though born in New Orleans in 1935, recorded in Los Angeles for Art Rupe’s Specialty label – the home of Little Richard.
Williams formed his first group at the age of 16, and when the band split up he spent a brief spell playing bass with Fats Domino‘s band.
When Little Richard abandoned rock ‘n’ roll in 1957 to follow his faith, Speciality Records called on Williams to fill his place on their roster.
Having endured a troubled early life and then become Lloyd Price’s valet, Williams cut a slew of hit singles – including Short Fat Fannie and Bony Moronie – whose impact on UK beat acts proved to be immense.
His work particularly attracted the attention of The Beatles who covered no fewer than three of his songs – Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Slow Down and Bad Boy – bringing him some much-needed income.
Something of a hell-raiser, Williams continued to record and perform (and produce) – but only when he wasn’t imprisoned for drug convictions.
His last album, Here’s Larry Williams, (1978) featured the modish reinvention Bony Moronie (Disco Queen).
In January 1980, Williams was found dead in his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 44.