If you’ve never heard of Rosetta Tharpe, you’re not alone. She’s the most overlooked and unsung pioneer of modern music. Her gospel roots and electric guitar skills produced a style of music that was the precursor to rock and roll.
Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley are among rock and roll artists who were influenced by her work. She was definitely fierce and is the definition of Black Girl Magic.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Tharpe was singing gospel, merging it with rhythm and blues and jazz. She was the first superstar to popularize gospel music in secular spaces. She toured throughout the United States and Europe up until her death in 1973.
See a documentary about her life below: