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Black + Iconic: Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Written by on February 13, 2024

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, once an underappreciated figure in the music industry, has posthumously earned the title of “Godmother of Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Renowned for blending the spiritual fervor of gospel with the electric vibrancy of R&B through her electric guitar mastery, Tharpe’s influence bridged the sacred and the secular in American music. Esteemed by contemporaries and successors alike, artists like Little Richard revered Tharpe as his favorite singer during his childhood and even collaborated with her on an album. In recognition of her groundbreaking fusion of gospel and secular sounds, Tharpe received a Grammy nomination in 1970 for her rendition of “Precious Memories.” Her 1950 marriage ceremony to her manager, Russell Morrison, was held in Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. as a public event attended by 20,000 fans, followed by a concert performance by Tharpe. Tharpe and Morrison’s marriage lasted until her passing in 1973, marking the end of an era for a pivotal figure in the evolution of rock and roll.

Source: BET

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