2018 Rock Hall Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe

posted by John Gatlin - 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sure has its critics, but arguably no artist has been more overdue for recognition than Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Her induction into the Hall's "Influences" is coming in 2018 but it's more than just a victory for rockin' sisterhood, it's a long-awaited shout to a truly great artist. Don't know enough about her? Praise be, here's your guide to a true great and the first Lady Of Gibson...

Who was she?: Back in the day, music was even more sliced and diced into categories than it is now. However, if there was one "Gospel" artist who was the genre's breakout name, the first real crossover superstar, it was Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Sister Tharpe was rockin' before rockin' existed - her first hit (and it was even called "Rock Me"!) was way back in 1938, when Elvis was a mere toddler.

She was born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, and was, frankly, a remarkable prodigy. Rosetta was singing gospel in church by age six, and soon playing some mean guitar too. Via a move to Chicago, where her musical education exploded, she headed to New York City. Like a righteous gatecrasher, she was soon playing at the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington as her teens swung by, she played with Dizzy Gillespie, then with swing bandleader Lucky Millinder. She soon headed back south to tour with fellow gospel icons the Dixie Hummingbirds.

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