Title: E. Rodney Jones recounts breaking Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally"
Creator: Smithsonian Productions
Date Created: 1995-03-14
Physical Dimensions: WAV
Transcript: A record promoter brought me a record by Little Richard called "Long Tall Sally." And I took this record, and I listened to it, and I said, "This guy's a rocker." You know?
And they said, "Hey. We just want to see what you think about it."
Because the distributor was Roberts distributors, which I have another thing that I want to bring out about that, too. About Roberts. But anyway, Skip Gorman was the guy's name that brought me the record. He said, "Spider Burke's gonna play this with only a half hour, though he had forty-five minutes a day that he would leave his jazz music and play" - he said he would call it "Going down in the alley behind my house," that he'd play all of the blues, and the rock, and all of the rhythm, and all of that. Doing that a few at a time and go back to his jazz. That was his format.
He said, "You're about the only one over here except George - George might play it if he feels like it. Well I think this record is a hit, and I think the boy needs a break."
I said, "Let me hear it." I played it. It was "Long Tall Sally." I said, "Look, I'll take care of it. I'll do what I can."
The next morning I played that record from six o'clock in the morning until seven. One record. "Long Tall Sally." The phones lit up. They stayed lit up. I wouldn't answer the phone. I mean the people went gone crazy. They thought I had lost my mind.
The guy from the distributor called me. When the switchboard opened up at nine o'clock, I must have had fifty calls from people. "What was the record?" "Are you nuts?" "Are you crazy?" Everybody in that market that was listening to that radio station knew about "Long Tall Sally." The distributor ordered ten thousand records. And he called me and said, "Man, I don't believe this. This is phenomenal." Little Richard will tell you this. I started the record right there in St. Louis and it broke out. Okay?
Special collection number: SC 39
Special collection name: Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was