Sister Rosetta Tharpe / March 20, 1915 - Oct 9, 1973

The original soul sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first secular gospel recording star, a huge influence on rock & roll and an excellent electric guitarist. Whether in church or in a concert hall in front of a big band, she captivated everyone. As a child she barnstormed across the South with her mom and was called a "singing and guitar playing miracle".

She cut her first records in '38 with Lucky Millander's orchestra, including "Rock Me". She appeared at the Spirituals To Swing concert that year and played with Cab Calloway's band as well. As bad as it was to some religious conservatives that a woman was playing guitar, her getting down with the devil's jazz and blues dances was hell-raising. In '47 she gave 15-year old Little Richard his first concert appearance, singing onstage with her. She made a lot of hit records, became a huge celebrity and did some overseas touring in the '50s and '60s before health issues slowed her down.

Here's some fun footage of her in '64 in the UK:

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published