An essential guide to the music of Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Biographer Gayle Wald gives us an introduction to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a guitar-playing, gospel-singing trailblazer who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Portrait of American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe at a press conference during her British tour, November 1957. (Getty Images)
Listen9:22

Originally published on April 16, 2018

This past weekend, Sister Rosetta Tharpe​ was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues and the Cars.

As one of the first guitar heroines of rock and roll, Tharpe was honoured with the Award for Early Influence at Saturday's ceremony. To get to know this guitar-playing, gospel-singing trailblazer a little bit better, we invited Gayle Wald, the author of Tharpe's biography, Shout, Sister, Shout!, to guide us through the essentials of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Listen above.

American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing, with Ottilie Patterson behind her, during rehearsals for a concert at Royal Festival Hall, London, March 31st 1960. (Getty Images)
American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing on stage with her guitar and Chris Barber's Jazz Band, Cardiff, Wales, November 1957. (Getty Images)
American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing on stage with her guitar and Chris Barber's Jazz Band, Cardiff, Wales, November 1957. (Getty Images)

— Produced by Chris Trowbridge

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