Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born in Arkansas in 1915. Despite great odds, it was announced last week that the woman from Cotton Plant would receive the Award for Early Influence at the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Before 2010, Rosetta Tharpe was virtually unknown. Since then, a series of Youtube videos have circulated between friends, blogs, and Facebook groups renewing interest in her music. One video depicts her; a black woman wearing a floral pattern dress leading a church choir while shredding a Gibson SG. Most of the comments read something like “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”, “This is it!”.
The last ten years have seen a rejection of traditional cross-eyed, plastic cock rock in favor of music that is more inclusive and raw. As young musicians continue to spurn convention and return to the electric roots of American music, there is no doubt that Sister Rosetta Tharpe is a patron saint.