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  • PIN THE TAIL/Daniel Rubin

    Observations from the 2004 Democratic National Convention

    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    Good Golly 

    The bashes started tonight, and the Boston Globe held the biggest, if not the most exclusive -- local and visiting media milling about as soul food and lobster snacks arrived at their tables as if by magic. The new convention center's doors swung open at 9 p.m., revealing a ferris wheel, an electric car, and after a while, none other than Little Richard.

    He was having a hard night.

    Behind him, and a band of thousands, a giant screen held him in sweaty close-up, and after the first song, he was asking them to turn the thing off. At the end of the second song, "Blueberry Hill," he stopped asking. "Turn it off," he said. "For years they've been taking my music, and they're still doing it."

    The video taping was wrong, wrong, wrong, he said. He'd never made any money off such hits as "Tutti Frutti." Turn it off. He was starting to sound like the paranoid parody of himself he played in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills."

    "I'm a 71-year-old man," he said, though he looked pretty damned trim with his pencil-thin mustache and pompidour that flowed into a fusilli mullet. "I am the creator of rock and roll," he huffed. "I am the architect."

    Cameras off, he loosened up, and took more than a few people to the school of rock.

    Daniel Rubin

    Daniel Rubin is a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached at


       •  July 2004

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