You can debate about who invented “rock and roll,” but there’s no debating that Sister Rosetta Tharpe significantly spiced up the recipe for that eventual hot and tasty flavor of hip-shaking American pop music. She rocked long before rock music ever existed, by uniquely blending the soulful sounds of gospel songs with her powerful voice and exciting style of playing the guitar. Then she plugged in.

Sister Rosetta Thorpe Sets the Stage

We are deeply honored to include Sister Rosetta Thorpe as an AXE HEAVEN® Exclusive Artist. Her influence on the pioneers of rock and roll cannot be understated, if only for the fact that the success of her gospel records in the late 1930s and 40s, including “Rock Me” in 1942, help set the stage for the many radical musical and cultural changes that rocked the nation—the entire world—in the revolutionary decades that followed.

She Sure Can Play

In additional to her gifted voice and her highly-charged singing style, a significant aspect of Sister Rosetta’s music and popularity came from her virtuoso guitar work. She eventually added electric guitars to her inspirational music—including the ’61 Gibson Les Paul SG she acquired soon after it came onto the market—which ratcheted up the energy of her rousing performances even more.

Check out this video to see and hear both her incredible vocal stylings and her equally great guitar licks.

To listen to more of her magical music, go to Sister Rosetta Tharpe on YouTube.

Her Life and Legacy

Watch this next video to learn a little about Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s musical career as presented by the folks at Gibson.

Learn more about her life and groundbreaking career at Sister Rosetta Tharpe on Wikipedia.