SISTER ROSETTA THARPE 

THE ORIGINAL SOUL SISTER

THE GODMOTHER OF ROCK AND ROLL

ACTIVE FROM  1919   1973 

INFLUENCED:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. She was the first great recording star of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll audiences, later being referred to as "the original soul sister" and "the Godmother of rock and roll". A pioneer in her guitar technique, she was among the first popular recording artists to use heavy distortion on her electric guitar, presaging the rise of electric blues. Her guitar playing technique had a profound influence on the development of British blues in the 1960s. Willing to cross the line between sacred and secular by performing her music of "light" in the "darkness" of nightclubs and concert halls with big bands behind her, Tharpe pushed spiritual music into the mainstream and helped pioneer the rise of pop-gospel. And while she offended some conservative churchgoers with her forays into the pop world, she never left gospel music.