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Sister Rosetta Tharpe : “The Godmother Of Rock and Roll”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe : “The Godmother Of Rock and Roll”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
From poverty to fame. Southern-born. Chicago-raised. New York-made. First great recording star of gospel music. One of the first gospel musicians to appeal to “Rhythm and Blues” and “Rock’n’Roll” audiences. “The Original Soul Sister”. “The Godmother Of Rock and Roll”. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to reintroduce you Sister Rosetta Tharpe!

More than a gospel singer, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was synonym of inspiration for great names of music such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis… She was also envied by “The King” Elvis Presley himself for her great voice and her terrific guitar skills.
Her talent was so amazing, Sister Rosetta Tharpe quickly became one of the world’s most popular gospel singer and the first to cross over successfully into mainstream popular music.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing in Café Society in 1940 - photo by Charles Peterson
Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing in Café Society in 1940 – photo by Charles Peterson

1938, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, aged 23, momentarily left church for show business, leading to a gigantic dissension when she sang songs laden with sexual insinuation in New York City nightclubs such as the Café Society and Cotton Club, where the natural performer she was, became immediately a favorite of both famous jazz bandleader Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, opening the way for Ray Charles 10 years later.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Lucky Millinder and Moe Gayle in 1941 - photo by Charles Peterson
Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Lucky Millinder and Moe Gayle in 1941 – photo by Charles Peterson

1941, hired by Lucky Millinder, she recorded some great albums with his jazz band and then appear as a soloist at the Café Society and other clubs in New York.
Nethertheless, she quickly returned to gospel, performing throughout America and Europe, becoming one of America’s most distinctive recording stars on radio and television in a period spreading from the 1940s to the 1960s.

“The Godmother Of Rock and Roll” for whom audiences had places around the US died on October 9th, 1973, at the age of 57 years old and her funeral attracted such a little mourners to fill half of a church. She then was buried in an unmarked grave, yet if Rock’n’Roll had to be a woman, she would be named after Sister Rosetta.

This is the reason why today, on October 9th, 2016, we want to celebrate this woman who gave everything for her passion, and who was an inspiration for many of us. So, Rest In Peace Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and we know one thing ; Where you are now, people are enjoying your voice and the sound of your Gibson SG.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1947 - Photo by Karl S
Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1947 – Photo by Karl S
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