• The Tempo Toppers  (Nashville, Tennessee)

    Personnel :

    Little Richard (Lead)

    Billy Brooks

    Barry Lee Gilmore

    Jimmy Swann

    Discography :

    The Tempo Toppers & The Deuces Of Rhythm
    1953 - Ain’t That Good News /  Fool At The Wheel (Peacock 1616)

    The Tempo Toppers Featuring “Little Richard”
    1954 - Rice, Red Beans and Turnip Greens / Always (Peacock 1628)

    Biography :

    In late 1952 Little Richard had finished up his association with RCA Records when he met the Tempo Toppers in Nashville. The group needed a lead singer, and he was available, so an agreement was made for Richard to become the front man for what would now be a vocal quartet.  After an early gig at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans,  they arrived in Houston for an engagement at the Club Matinee, where they met Don Robey, owner of Duke Records / Peacock Records.

    Little Richard                                                      Don Robey

    Apparently Robey liked what he heard and saw, because the group signed a recording contract with him shortly thereafter. On February 23, 1953, the Tempo Toppers recorded four songs at the ACA Studio in Houston with Deuces of Rhythm. They sounded like many of the gospel influenced black vocal groups of the day, and were strongly influenced by the Dominoes and their lead singer at that time, Clyde McPhatter.

    Their first single, "Fool at the Wheel", was a regional hit in the south, and the group was very popular in Texas, but could not break out at all nationally. Richard quit the group abruptly in the summer of 1953 and went back home to Macon, Georgia.


    Robey eventually issued a second single, "Rice, Red Beans and Turnip Greens", by the group from that February, 1953 recording session (released in March of 1954), but this was long after Richard had left the group. In between that time Richard returned to record a solo session (October 5, 1953) for Robey, backed by the Johnny Otis Orchestra. Those songs were not released until after Little Richard had become a huge star in 1956.

    Songs :

    Fool At The Wheel / Ain’t That Good News

    Always                  Rice, Red Beans and Turnip Greens





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