Without Sister Rosetta Tharpe, we wouldn't have rock and roll as we know it now.
Her pioneering guitar virtuosity was fueled by the gospel swinging, shouting, holy-spirit energy of the evangelical church and the blues she heard on Chicago's Maxwell Street, which crossed each other like crackling live wires in her hands – and boom, we're at the beginning of the revolution that would later be widely and wrongly attributed, almost entirely, to the white teens and young men who emulated her. "Strange Things Happening Every Day" was a favorite spin and the men long considered the founding fathers of rock and roll — Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard — were all listening. A few years later, the British wave of artists like The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin built upon that original all-male Mount Rushmore of American rock, but all of it flowed from the source: Sister Rosetta.
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