Slept On Sunday shines a light on the best of what’s slept on in music and culture.
History can be subjective. People usually believe what best fits their notions of the world around them, and the history of music is no different. Elvis Presley has been historically dubbed “The King Of Rock and Roll,” but that title is rather misleading. So the question then becomes, well who influenced “The King”? The answer is Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
The sound of the classic rock and blues that we all know and love can be largely credited to Sister Rosetta. She was not only a pioneer in sound but in technique as well. Well before Jimi Hendrix, and even Little Richard, it was Sister Rosetta Tharpe that led the way for guitar players and singers alike.
Songs like “Rock Me”, which was released in 1938, were incredibly influential to those that would come after. Reportedly, Elvis was a huge Sister Rosetta fan, and this song was just the beginning.
“Elvis loved Sister Rosetta,” recalled the Jordanaires’ Gordon Stoker, especially her “incredible” guitar style. “That’s what really attracted Elvis: her pickin’. He liked her singing, but he liked that pickin’ first – because it was so different.”Why Sister Rosetta Tharpe Belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Rolling Stone
In following years she would come to shape the sound of blues, gospel, and Rock and Roll. She explored the electric guitar to its fullest, diving into the sounds of distortion and overdrive. Her courage and foresight to dive into new sounds hold irreplaceable value in what we hear today.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been called, by many who know of her, the “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” and rightfully so. It’s only respectful to say that she is the original American guitar hero.