LOS ANGELES – Charles Connor, best known for being the drummer for Little Richard, who performed with other music greats including James Brown and Sam Cooke, has died. He was 86 years old.
Connor’s daughter, Queen Connor Sonnfeld, said her father died peacefully in her sleep early Saturday while in hospice care at their home in Glendale, California. She said her father had been diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus, a brain disorder that causes fluid buildup.
Conor Sonnfeld called the drummer a “great father” who was always positive and a man who never gave up on his dreams.
“He was one of those drummers who was a bricklayer to create that rock ‘n’ roll style,” she said. “He played behind many great musicians in the 1950s. He was a loving grandfather and was very proud of his family and their contribution to rock ‘n’ roll.
Connor began playing drums at the age of 12. Three years later, he began his professional career when Professor Longhair, a singer and pianist, hired him as a last-minute replacement for the 1950 Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
After Connor turned 18, he joined Richard’s original road band, The Upsetters. The band appeared in several popular feature films, including “Don’t Knock the Rock” with Jane Mansfield and “Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll” with “The Girl Can’t Help It.”
During his career, Connor toured with various musicians such as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and the original Coaster. He also received a Certificate of Special Recognition from Rep. Maxine Waters in 1994.
Connor in his inspiring book “Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams: You Can Be a Winner Too!” Released. 2008. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame two years later.
In 2013, Connor released his EP album “Still Knockin'”. At the time of his death, he was working on his autobiographical documentary.