WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Rock 'n' roll pioneer Little Richard said Friday his recovery from a serious car accident earlier this month was a miracle and thanked God and his doctors for keeping him alive.
'Boy, somebody upstairs loves that little black boy from North Carolina who made 'Tutti Frutti,'' said Little Richard, who was born Richard Penniman.
The flamboyant rocker-turned-minister was wheeled into a conference room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on a hospital bed with his head dressed in a turban.
Dr. Edwin Gromis, who with his brother is treating Little Richard, said the singer-songwriter would remain hospitalized for another six to 10 days and estimated complete recovery would take five to six months.
The 52-year-old singer suffered a severely fractured right thigh and injuries to his mouth when his speeding sports car slammed into a telephone pole on Santa Monica Boulevard on Oct. 8.
'I can't remember what happened,' he said. 'I'm just so glad to be alive.
'All I remembered when I awakened was I was in a Jewish hospital, and I said 'Thank God.''
He said he could not even remember getting in his Nissan 300ZX.
Little Richard gained fame in the 1950s from his compositions of nonsense lyrics he sang with a wild, driving rhythm. He was thrust into the national limelight in 1955 with his hit recording of 'Tutti Frutti,' a song that shocked the nation with its sexual undertones.
When the accident occurred, he had just returned from London, where he concluded filming a new Disney movie called 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills,' in which he co-stars with Richard Dreyfuss.
He was pinned between the steering wheel and the seat of his car for an hour before he was cut from the wreckage.
Police said they still are investigating the accident and said the singer could be cited for reckless driving. Tests showed no alcohol in his blood at the time.
'As long as I'm alive, I'll face anything,' he said, flashing a big smile. 'I've never had this kind of pain in my life.
'I've got a new song -- 'Hollering,'' he said. 'I've never been at death's door before in my life. I believe it was meant to happen to turn me around and to show other people there's going to be a brighter day and show that God still works miracles.'
Gromis said he had to reconstruct the singer's leg, which was fractured in more than eight places.
Little Richard held on to the national spotlight through 1958 with a steady string of hit singles, including 'Good Golly Miss Molly,' 'Long Tall Sally,' 'Slippin' and Slidin',' 'Rip it Up,' 'Ready Teddy,' and 'Lucille.'
He became a minister and left music at the peak of his career after surviving a near-accident on a flight to an overseas engagement.