Woman of the Day – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Green Party Women Celebrating Women’s History Month
Day 24: Woman of the Day:  Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Today for our Woman of the Day celebrations we have a heartfelt contribution from Green Party Woman Jessica Goldfinch. Here she pays tribute to both her Mum and pioneering American singer, songwriter and guitarist, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

“My beautiful mum (RIP) loved Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She introduced me to her music when I was still in single digits. I am now 57yrs old but remember the joyful smile of my mum whilst she swayed and jigged to Rosetta’s lyrical bluesy poignant tunes.

“Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born Rosetta Nubin on March 20, 1915.

“She gained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterised by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and electric guitar. She was the first great recording star of gospel music and was 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, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and also later guitarists, such as Eric Clapton.

“Here is a wonderfully convivial platform gig. Push back your settee, dance and lose yourself. Thanks Rosetta and thanks mum.”

Sister Rosetta’s music transcended racial and cultural boundaries, earning her widespread acclaim and as Jessica highlights influenced generations of musicians. Her electrifying performances, which often featured her signature Gibson SG guitar, challenged conventions paving the way for future rock icons.

She recorded numerous hit songs, including This Train, Strange Things Happening Every Day and Up Above My Head. She also collaborated with renowned artists such as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. This further solidified her status as a musical trailblazer.

Despite facing adversity as a black woman in the male-dominated music industry of her time, Sister Rosetta remained steadfast in her pursuit of artistic excellence. Her legacy continues to resonate today, with countless artists citing her as a major influence.

Her groundbreaking contributions to music earned her a place of honour in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This cemented her status as one of the most influential figures in the history of popular music.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe died on October 9, 1973, but her music lives on as a testament to her enduring impact and lasting legacy.




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