godmother of rock and roll

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915. When she was six years old she joined her mom as a performer in a traveling evangelical troupe. Billed initially as a “singing and guitar playing miracle,” she would eventually take on a new title, “The Godmother of Rock and Roll.”

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Black history month day 19: musical pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Rosetta was born on March 20, 1915 to a pair of musicians in Arkansas. Her parents were also active in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). This denomination encouraged musical expression, rhythm and dancing, and female preaching. Rosetta’s mother was a preacher and, at her encouragement, Rosetta began singing and playing the guitar as Little Rosetta Nubin at the age of four and was cited as a musical prodigy. By the age of six, Rosetta became a regular performer in her mother’s traveling evangelical troupe.

Rosetta became well known for her music in an age where prominent black female guitar players were a rarity. At the age of 23 she begin her recording career and became one of the first gospel performers to have the mainstream success. She performed with prominent musicians like cab Calloway and was one of only two gospel singers who was able to send records to the troops overseas during World War II.

Rosetta Tharpe has been referred to as “the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll” and her style of music heavily influenced early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

And because I just can’t justify posting this without an actual example of how talented she was, click this link to hear one of her classic songs: https://youtu.be/SR2gR6SZC2M

npr.org
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Godmother Of Rock 'N' Roll

Rock ‘n’ roll was bred between the church and the nightclubs in the soul of a queer black woman in the 1940s named Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was there before Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash swiveled their hips and strummed their guitars. It was Tharpe, the godmother of rock 'n’ roll, who turned this burgeoning musical style into an international sensation.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Tharpe was always surrounded by music growing up. Born Rosetta Nubin in Arkansas to Willis Atkins and Katie Bell, Tharpe came from a family of religious singers, cotton pickers and traditional evangelists. She picked up the guitar at four years old, and at the age of six she accompanied her mother to perform with a travelling evangelist troupe in churches around the South. By the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, where they continued performing spiritual music. As Tharpe grew up, she began fusing Delta blues, New Orleans jazz and gospel music into what would become her signature style. 

Although Tharpe’s distinctive voice and unconventional style attracted fans, it was still the mid-1930s. Female guitarists were rare, and even more so was a musician who pursued both religious and secular themes, a fact that alarmed the gospel community. But Tharpe — young and innovative — was determined to keep experimenting with her sound. Her persistence and grit paid off, and by 1938, she had joined the Cotton Club Revue, a New York City club that became especially notable during the Prohibition era. She was only 23 at the time, a feat that was only amplified when she scored her first single, “Rock Me,” a gospel and rock 'n’ roll fusion, along with three other gospel songs: “My Man and I,” “That’s All” and “Lonesome Road.”

Tharpe’s lyrics unabashedly flirted with her openness of love and sexuality, an approach that left her gospel audience speechless. “Rock Me,” which showcased Tharpe’s distinctive guitar style and melodic blues mixed with traditional gospel music, made her a trailblazer — as did the range of her voice, which resounded with conviction as she sang the words “rock me!” With this song, she made it plain that her words could not only transcend lines of faith, but could also represent a shift in popular music in real time. [Read More]

Hidden Herstory: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “The Godmother of Rock and Roll”

Photo: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist.

On October 31, 1938, aged 23, Rosetta Tharpe recorded for the first time. She recorded “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “My Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road,” which all became instant hits, establishing Tharpe as an overnight sensation and one of the first commercially successful gospel recording artists. During the 1940s-60s, Tharpe introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of rock ’n’ roll, inspiring some of its greatest stars, including Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard.

As a guitarist, Tharpe defied gender roles playing an instrument largely considered masculine. Her bold and powerful performances disrupted both sex and racial stereotypes in music—proving to be one of the most influential music artists of the 20th century despite not being a household name.

Watch her electrifying performance of “Didn’t it Rain” in England in 1964!

npr.org
Forebears: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Godmother Of Rock 'N' Roll
A musician who broke every norm, Tharpe turned rock 'n' roll from a burgeoning musical style into an international sensation. She was — and is — an unmatched artist.

Rock ‘n’ roll was bred between the church and the nightclubs in the soul of a queer black woman in the 1940s named Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was there before Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash swiveled their hips and strummed their guitars. It was Tharpe, the godmother of rock 'n’ roll, who turned this burgeoning musical style into an international sensation…

99 ½ Won't Do
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
99 ½ Won't Do

“99½ Won’t Do”, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Gospel Train, 1956).

Often called “the godmother of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is, like a godmother, a prevailing influence on the genre and, also like a godmother, almost unilaterally overlooked as being such. A self-taught guitarist, singer and pianist by age six, Tharpe got her start in gospel but her powerful musical style went much further. She made Decca’s first gospel records in 1938 before continuing her success during the 40s, 50s and 60s, dying in 1973 having made an indelible mark on the history of music and yet remaining largely unknown.

Do yourself a favour and check her out.

theguardian.com
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother Of Rock & Roll

She could outplay Chuck. She could outsing Aretha. And she influenced everyone from Elvis Presley to Rod Stewart.

Richard Williams revisits the songs and sufferings of the guitar-toting gospel singer for what would have been her 100th birthday [Read More]

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Happy Birthday to the Reigning Queen of Rock & Roll,
the Fairy Godmother of Rock and the Poet in our Hearts
Stephanie "Tee-Dee" Lynn Nicks ~ (May 26th 1948 - ∞)

"If you are gracious, you have won the game."

She gets out there, and she’s the weight she is, she’s the age she is, and she’s still got so much dignity and class and humor. Stevie Nicks is not about repentance; I always thought she was about consciousness. But to know there’s different chapters and different battles at different moments in your life that you have to make peace with so you can take on new battles is a pretty great thing for kids to see. Ingrid Sischy.

She said, ‘I wanted to be respected by every single dude on that stage, and if I walked out and I’d made that choice, the dynamic would have been different.’ And she’s right. Now it’s a little bit different because of women like Stevie. And I think, God, I’m just so grateful to her. Vanessa Carlton.

Watch on coffeyunplugged.tumblr.com

Happy Born Day Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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Happy Birthday to the Reigning Queen of Rock & Roll, 
the Fairy Godmother of Rock and the Poet in our Hearts,
Stephanie "Tee-Dee" Lynn Nicks ~ May 26th 1948 - ∞

“People say to me, 'there's never a look on your face like there is the look on your face when you're on that stage'. That's where I belong. I'm not near as good at home or at a party on an airplane or anywhere else. I'm at home on a stage with those kids."