Sister Rosetta Tharpe

American Godmother of Rock n’ Roll • 1915-1973 • Gospel, Rhythm and Blues, Rock n’ Roll

Fast Facts

  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915
  • She was one of the few black female guitarists to find commercial success and the first artist to blend gospel and secular music.
  • She was the first Black queer gospel music star and first great recording star of gospel music.
  • She invented rock and roll music; she was the Black, queer mother of rock and roll.
  • She was known as the “singing and guitar-playing miracle”, “the Godmother of rock ‘n roll”, “the original soul sister”, and was a pioneer in her guitar technique.
  • She influenced many early rock n’ roll musicians such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley.
  • Her gospel recording of “Strange Things Happening Every Day” entered Billboard’s “Harlem Hit Parade” in 1944.

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