Arkansas April 25, 2018
This Famous Arkansan Was Just Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
Each year the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducts a handful of new members to be included in the prestigious honor. The Hall includes standout artists from a variety of rock genres from James Brown to Aerosmith. The group of 2018 inductees included one of the most important influences to rock and roll, and she just so happens to be an Arkansan. Let’s listen to some of her tunes and learn more about Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Turn on Sister Rosetta’s
Didn’t It Rain for some musical accompaniment to today’s article.
Earlier this month the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted their newest members.
This year Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, and Nina Simone were inducted for the performer category. Today's focus, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was inducted and awarded for Early Influence.
Sister Rosetta actually has Arkansas roots. She was born in Cotton Plant in 1915.
Her and her mother lived there for six years until moving to Chicago.
She began her musical career in the church and on the road in tent revivals.
Her big sound comes from playing in the tent revivals. At the time, microphones couldn't be used so Tharpe had to learn how to connect to her audience as well as be heard.
After her move to New York at age 23, Tharpe became an instant success.
She picked up her signature electric guitar and began playing new renditions to the gospel songs she had grown up with. "Rock Me" became a suggestive secularized tune and she changed the "Lord and I" to "My Man and I."
Her unique style forged a new genre of electric blues.
She was actually one of the first recording artists to use distortion, a technique still heavily used by today's guitarists. The song we're listening to,
Didn't it Rain laid down the foundation for blues artists like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
Other rock genres picked up on her unique playing style and sound as well.
Unfortunately, Sister Rosetta fell out of being a household name after the '60s music revolution.
The genre had simply expanded too much and newer artists were taking the spotlight. She did pick up a new fan base while touring in the UK during the early '60s but settled down in Philadelphia.
She died at age 53 in 1973 leaving behind a legacy of iconic rock and roll performers.
Her headstone reads, "She would sing until you cried and sing until you danced for joy."
It may be long overdue but we're thrilled that Sister Rosetta Tharpe is finally getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Hall's description of her contribution couldn't be more true, "She is the founding mother who gave rock’s founding fathers the idea."
To see Sister Rosetta pick her guitar, watch this live performance:
What’s your favorite Sister Rosetta Tharpe song? Share with us in the comments below!
To learn about another Arkansas musician, you may want to visit
Johnny Cash’s boyhood home.