Rip It Up

Album: Here's Little Richard (1956)
Charted: 30 17
Play Video


  • In this song, it's Saturday night and Little Richard has just been paid, so he's going to "rip it up" with a night on the town with his girl. He'll likely blow the paycheck, but it will be worth it.
  • A white songwriter named Johnny Marascalco wrote this song, which was released as Little Richard's third single. Marascalco while he was sitting in a cotton field waiting for a friend to get out of church so they could hunt rabbits. A later weekend, he heard Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" and decided that he could write similar songs. Little Richard's producer Bumps Blackwell (who has a co-writing credit on this one as well) bought both "Rip It Up" and another Marascalco song, "Ready Teddy," which was released as the B-side of the single. The two songs were recorded at J&M Studios in New Orleans on May 9, 1956, with Blackwell producing. Musicians on the track included Lee Allen on tenor saxophone, Alvin Tyler on baritone sax, Ernest McLean on guitar, Frank Fields on bass and Earl Palmer on drums. The song was a #1 hit on the R&B charts.
  • Bill Haley and His Comets quickly covered this song, and their version peaked at #30. At least Little Richard didn't have the indignity of losing on the charts with his own song to Pat Boone, which is what happened on "Tutti Frutti."
  • When Richard sings, "picked her up in my 88," he's talking about an Oldsmobile Rocket 88, which was one of the fastest cars on the road and the vehicle of choice for many rock pioneers; Ike Turner's song "Rocket 88," which is often considered the first rock song, is about the car.
  • A new version of "Rip It Up" became the Monday Night Football theme song in 2020 when ESPN chose it to replace "All My Rowdy Friends" by Hank Williams, Jr. With COVID-19 pandemic shutting down gatherings and causing most games to be played in empty stadiums, Williams' song didn't seem appropriate.

    "Rip It Up" set on Saturday night, so ESPN commissioned a revamp by the Virginia band Butcher Brown, which created a new instrumental track and added new vocals that were mixed with Little Richard's original. The opening line went from:

    Well, it's Saturday night and I just got paid


    It's Monday night and I'm feeling fine

    Throughout the season, the lyrics were customized for the matchups, mentioning the specific teams in action.

Comments: 4

  • Danny69 from Kansas"Rip it up" is slang for sex as it was used in the 1950's
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 18th 1964, the Everly Brothers performed "Rip It Up"* on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    The song was track seven on the Everly's 1958 Cadence Records debut album, 'The Everly Brothers', and the album peaked at #16 on Billboard's Best Selling Pop LP Albums chart...
    Three tracks from the album made the Top 100 chart; "Bye Bye Love" {#2 for 4 weeks}, "Wake Up Little Susie" {#1 for 4 weeks}, and "This Little Girl of Mine" {#26}...
    * "Rip It Up" was performed over the closing credits of the show...?
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkThis is a wild rocker from The Architect of Rock & Roll. I wasn't alive for the birth of rock & roll, but I became a true Little Richard fan when I saw the NBC-TV bio-movie "Little Richard" s ome years ago. This song is also on a late CD compilation of his hits & album cuts, "Little Richard: The Georgia Peach." It's cover is in flamboyant pink! Wild! As it's liner notes state (from Billboard archives), this is one of several of his #1 R&B hits. I saw Little Richard perform a few years ago at Fayetteville, Arkansas ( home of the University of Arkansas' Razorbacks). And he truly did rip-it-up!!! I was just in awe of this pioneer of rock & roll. However, I have heard that earlier this year (2014) he decided to retire from show business. What a career! I recall him performing at one of former President Bill Clinton's inaugural concerts & I believe he was introduced by the great Chuck Berry! Now that is a concert to remember!
  • Patrick from Tomahawk, WiThis is LITTLE RICHARD- REDDY TEDDY
    The video that is here is someone claiming it's the beatles
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.