Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an influential electric guitar player/singer and one of the early pioneers of rock music, bridging from gospel into early R&B and serving as an inspiration for Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other acts who are often credited with the birth of rock-n-roll.
Sister Rosetta actually gave Little Richard his first opportunity to perform publicly, inviting him onstage during one of her shows.
Of course, as a black woman, she received very little credit for any of this and instead saw all of the men she influenced go down in music history as the founding fathers of rock and roll. She moved to England after the American music scene turned its back on her.
Get this: Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame since its inception in 1983 (in fact, she would have been eligible as far back as 1963 had the Hall existed that long). She is known as the “Godmother of Rock & Roll.” And yet she was not even considered for inclusion until 2018, overlooked for 35 years!
Fortunately, she made it in as soon as she was nominated.
I’m glad she did, because otherwise I would have remained ignorant of her very existence. As I said, artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe are the reason a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame makes sense in the first place.
On another note, I would like to recognize another talented and influential sister… my own. Happy Birthday, Amy!
That the man don’t understand the good book right and that’s all
You know what?
We got to have more love
More understanding everyday of our lives
And that’s all
When you see folks jump from this or that
They don’t know they don’t know where the devil’s at
They got to have more love, more understanding
Everyday of their lives I tell ya that’s all
Listen, people fighting one another
And think they’re doing swell
And all they want is your money
And you can go to heeeeyyyyy
Ya’ll got to have religion, yeah, I tell ya that’s all
Now you can go to the college
Go to the schools
Have a good religion he use for educated blues
Yeah, that’s all
He got to have more love, more understanding
Everyday of our lives and that’s all