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Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Sex and religion on the origins of rock and roll

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a young and attractive celebrity in the 1930s. Her innovative and daring songs were listened on the radio throughout the southern United States of America and their audience queued three or four blocks to see her performances. Twenty-four thousand people gathered at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. just to celebrate her third wedding! Despite her reputation as a liberal woman, Rosetta was really appreciated especially for the African-American church and was already important before she recorded in New York her song “Rock me” (Decca, 1938). With this single Sister Rosetta Tharpe got her first success in lists for white singers: she was black, she was a woman, and she was rocking twenty years ahead of Elvis Presley, who was only a four years old child in that moment.

Article by Pablo Fernández from Barcelona/Monday, January 13th 2020

This is an short translation of the original article published in Spanish by Entrelíneas: Revista de Arte as La religiosa Sister Rosetta Tharpe y los eróticos orígenes del rock and roll

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