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The Woman Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll PowerPoint Presentation
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The Woman Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll

The Woman Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll

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The Woman Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll

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  1. The Woman Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll

  2. “When Chuck Berry came out, I had seen all that” Gospel Singer Geraldine Gay Hambric

  3. A survey of five major text books used to teach the History of Rock or American Popular Music turns up only one mention of Sister Rosetta Tharpe

  4. Childhood • Born in Cotton Plant AR 1915 • Western Edge of MS delta • Left Cotton Plant with mother at six • Church of God in Christ • Pentecostal • Emotive, rhythmic, musical worship “Holy Rollers” • Child protégé • Mother Katie Bell becomes evangelist

  5. Chicago • Early ’20s Katie and Rosetta become members of the largest COGIC congregation in the country • “Rock Church Rock” • Rosetta would sing and accompany her self on guitar • Maxwell Street • By her teens Rosetta will be working the revival circuit with her mother • Married COGIC preacher Thomas Tharpe

  6. Florida • Marriage – business arrangement? • Settle in Miami • Simulcast on WKAT radio • Will begin bringing a new audience • Church begins charging non-members to attend Sunday night services • In 1938 “Rosabell” will leave behind her life in Florida, moving to New York and adopting the name “Sister Rosetta Tharpe”

  7. New York – Fame & Worldly Music • Debate as to why • Recruited by agent? • Pathway out of marriage? • Fulfillment of dream? • Cotton Club ‘38 & Café Society ‘40 • Irving Mills becomes publisher • First Recordings with Decca__ • Lucky Millinder___

  8. New York - Reborn • In 1943 Tharpe no longer wanted to play secular and mock sacred music, but was contractually obligated to do so • “Strange Things Are Happening Everyday”__ • Sam Price on piano • 1944 – seven years before Rocket 88 • Both would be staples of Memphis’ Red, Hot, & Blue Radio Show in the 1950s • Early live performances with electric guitar

  9. Marie Knight • Introduced to Tharpe in 1946 • Seven years younger than Tharpe • Had spent early ‘40s on revival circuit • Had also married preacher and saw performing as way out • Instant Musical Chemistry • 1947 “Didn’t It Rain” ______

  10. Queens of the Road • Tharpe and Knight toured as a duo through 1949__ • Although is was denied by Knight and deflected by Tharpe, many close to the duo believe they were lovers • 1950 Knight’s mother and two children die in a fire – marked the end of the duo __

  11. Richmond, DC, & Nashville • In 1948 buys home in Richmond’s Barton Heights neighborhood • Had already recorded with Virginia style jubilee with The Dependable Boys • 1949 & 1950 Tharpe would the South backed by white vocal group the Jordanaires • Customized tour bus allowed her to sleep, eat, and otherwise live on the bus • Wedding/Concert DC July 1951 • 1952 recording session with Red Foley

  12. Defining Rock ’n’ Roll – Musical Elements • Blues based guitar • Up-tempo shuffle • Visceral rather than intellectual • Blend of White and Black Vernacular Music elements

  13. Defining Rock ’n’ Roll – Cultural Elements • Bi-racial • Participatory Social Dance Music • Controversial

  14. Defining Rock ’n’ Roll - Influences

  15. Biases against Sister Rosetta Tharpe • Lack of video of Sister Rosetta in her prime___ • Lack of electric guitar recordings • The Phallic Guitar • The middle-aged white men who write about Rock • Rock’s uncomfortable relationship with Gospel