by Robert Wilkinson
Today we celebrate on of the true pioneers of 20th century music! This amazing woman influenced every early rock and roller, including 3 of the Million Dollar Quartet, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard!
Sister Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was a singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist who pioneered an amalgam of gospel, R&B, and proto-rock and roll. From Wikipedia:
A pioneer of mid-20th-century music, she 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". She influenced early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Little Richard said she was his favorite performer growing up, and in 1947, after she heard him sing, she invited him to join her on stage for his first performance outside a church. It is said this inspired him to take up music as a career. Wow. It's said her guitar playing directly influenced how Mister Chuck Berry learned to play guitar, so I guess we could say she taught him how to pick just like "he was ringing a bell."
And now, enjoy the music of a unique pioneering talent!
From 1945, this #2 hit is considered one of the very first “rock and roll” songs! “Strange Things Happen Every Day”
This one is from 1944, and made the National Recording Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress in 2004! Sister Rosetta is singing and playing live and takin’ us to church! “Down By The Riverside”
Here’s a great live performance video! This song is said to have inspired Chuck Berry and Elvis! “That’s All”
From what looks to be the early 60s, another live performance! “This Train”
From the late 60s with Chicago Slim and the Chicago Blues All Stars on German tv, the Sister belts out the blues! “That’s All”
A few from the studio!
From the early 40s, her studio version of the Tommy Dorsey hit “Rock Me”
Here’s her great version of the gospel standard “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”
Crankin’ it out with her mother, the studio version of “99 and a Half Won’t Do”
From 1956, the entire album! “Gospel Train”
From 1947, this went to #13! With Marie Knight, the studio version of “Precious Memories.”
Back to a live performance! From 1965, live in France, the tune that was the flip side of “Precious Memories,” which outperformed it and went to #6, “Up Above My Head”
We’ll close with her studio version of this Christmas classic from 1949 that also went to #6, “Silent Night”
For our encore, a 55 minute documentary! Sister Rosetta Tharpe Documentary - 2011
© Copyright 2017 Robert Wilkinson