Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915 – 1973), a musical prodigy, was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and paved the way for rock and roll. She was the first great recording artist of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock and roll artists, later being referred to as the “Godmother of Rock and Roll.”
Standing out in an era when prominent black female guitarists were rare, Tharpe's singing and unique guitar style – which influenced Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry – blended melody-driven urban blues with traditional folk arrangements and incorporated a pulsating swing sound that is one of the first clear precursors of rock and roll.
“All this new stuff they call rock ‘n’ roll, why, I’ve been playing that for years now…”
Tharpe was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
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