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Encyclopedia > Sister Rosetta Tharpe
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"Sister" Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 - October 9, 1973) was a gospel artist who attained great popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with a unique mixture of Holiness vocals and jazzy guitar accompaniment. Willing to cross the line between sacred and secular music by singing in nightclubs and with big bands behind her, her witty, idiosyncratic style also left a lasting mark on more conventional gospel artists, such as Ira Tucker, Sr. of the Dixie Hummingbirds. While she offended conservative churchgoers with her forays into the world of pop music, she never left gospel music. March 20 is the 79th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (80th in Leap years). ... Jump to: navigation, search 1915 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Jump to: navigation, search October 9 is the 282nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (283rd in Leap years). ... Jump to: navigation, search 1973 was a common year starting on Monday. ... Jump to: navigation, search Gospel music may refer either to the religious music that first came out of African-American churches in the 1930s or, more loosely, to both black gospel music and to the religious music composed and sung by white southern Christian artists. ... Jump to: navigation, search // Events and trends The 1930s were described as an an abrupt shift to more radical lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the global depression. ... // Events and trends The 1940s were dominated by World War II, the most destructive armed conflict in history. ... Holiness means the state of being holy, that is, set apart for the worship or service of God or gods. ... Jump to: navigation, search Jazz master Louis Armstrong remains one of the most loved and best known of all jazz musicians. ... Jump to: navigation, search The acoustic archtop guitar used in Jazz features steel strings The guitar is a stringed musical instrument. ... A nightclub (often dance club or club, particularly in the UK) is an entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. ... A big band, also known as a jazz orchestra, is a large musical ensemble that plays swing music. ... The Dixie Hummingbirds is one of the most influential groups in gospel music, spanning more than 75 years from the jubilee quartet style of the 1920s, through the hard gospel quartet style of Gospels golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, to the eclectic pop-tinged songs of the...

Born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, she began performing at age four, billed as "Little Rosetta Nubin, the singing and guitar playing miracle", accompanying her mother, Church of God in Christ (COGIC) evangelist Katie Bell Nubin, who played mandolin and preached at tent revivals throughout the South. Exposed to both blues and jazz both in the South and after her family moved to Chicago in the late 1920s, she played blues and jazz in private, while performing gospel music in public settings. Her unique style reflected those secular influences: she bent notes the way that jazz artists did and picked guitar like Memphis Minnie. Cotton Plant is a city located in Woodruff County, Arkansas. ... THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST is a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the word of God is preached, ordinances are administered and the doctrine of sanctification or holiness is emphasized, as being essential to the salvation of mankind. ... Carved and round backed mandolins (front) A mandolin is a stringed musical instrument. ... Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see blues (disambiguation) Blues is a vocal and instrumental music form which emerged in the African-American community of the United States. ... Jump to: navigation, search Chicago, colloquially known as the Second City and the Windy City, is the third-largest city in population in the United States and the largest inland city in the country. ... Jump to: navigation, search Sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or primarily in North America as the Roaring Twenties . In Europe it is sometimes refered to as the Golden Twenties. ... Memphis Minnie McCoy (born June 3, 1897 - died August 6, 1973) was an American Blues musician. ...

Rosetta also crossed over to secular music in other ways. After marrying COGIC preacher Wilbur Thorpe--who later changed their name to Tharpe--in 1934 and moving to New York City, she recorded four sides with Decca Records backed by "Lucky" Millinder's jazz orchestra. Her records caused an immediate furor: many churchgoers were shocked by the mixture of sacred and secular music, but secular audiences loved them. Appearances in John Hammond's 1938 extravaganza "From Spirituals To Swing", at CafĂ© Society and with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman made her even more popular. Songs like "This Train" and "Rock Me", which combined gospel themes with bouncy up-tempo arrangements, became smash hits among audiences with little previous exposure to gospel music. Jump to: navigation, search 1934 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... New York City, officially named the City of New York, is the most populous city in the United States, the most densely populated major city in North America, and is at the center of international finance, politics, entertainment, and culture. ... Jump to: navigation, search Decca Records is a British record label established in 1929. ... There are two John Hammonds of note. ... Café society described the mixed group of Beautiful People and Bright Young Things that gathered in fashionable restaurants of Paris, London, Rome or New York, beginning in the late 19th century. ... Cab Calloway, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1933 Cab Calloway (December 25, 1907–November 18, 1994), born Cabell Calloway III, was a famous American jazz singer and bandleader. ... Benny Goodman, born Benjamin David Goodman, (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was a famous Jazz musician, known as King of Swing, Patriarch of the Clarinet, and Swings Senior Statesman. // Childhood and early years Goodman was born in Chicago, the son of poor Jewish immigrants who lived on Chicago...

Tharpe continued recording during World War II, one of only two gospel groups able to record V-discs for troops overseas. Her song "Strange Things Happening Every Day", recorded in 1944 with Sammy Price, Decca's house boogie woogie pianist, showcased her virtuosity as a guitarist and her witty lyrics and delivery. It was also the first gospel song to make Billboard's "race records" Top Ten--something that Sister Rosetta Tharpe accomplished several more times in her career. V-Disc was a record label produced during the World War II era by special arrangement between the United States government and various private U.S. record companies. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1944 was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Boogie woogie has two different meanings: a piano based music style, boogie woogie (music) a dance that imitates the rocknroll of the 50s, boogie woogie (dance) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

After the war Decca paired her with Marie Knight, a Sanctified shouter with a strong contralto and a more subdued style than Tharpe. Their hit "Up Above My Head" showed both of them to great advantage: Knight provided the response to Tharpe in traditional call and response format, then took the role that would have been assigned to a bass in a male quartet after Tharpe's solo. They toured the gospel circuit for a number of years, during which Tharpe was so popular that she attracted 25,000 paying customers to her wedding to her manager Russell Morrison (her third marriage), followed by a vocal performance, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. in 1951. In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first. ... Griffith Stadium was a sports stadium that stood in Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1965, at the corner of Georgia Avenue and W Street, NW. An earlier wooden baseball park that stood on the site, National Park, was built in 1891, was destroyed by a fire in March 1911... Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...

Their popularity took a sudden downturn, however, when they recorded several blues songs in the early 1950s. Knight attempted afterwards to cross over to popular music, while Tharpe remained in the church, but rebuffed by many of her former fans. Retreating to Europe, Tharpe gradually returned to the gospel circuit, although at nowhere near her former celebrity. Her performances were curtailed even further by a stroke in 1970. She died in 1973 after another stroke, on the eve of a scheduled recording session. Jump to: navigation, search // Events and trends The 1950s in Western society was marked with a sharp rise in the economy for the first time in almost 30 years and return to the 1920s-type consumer society built on credit and boom-times, as well as the height of the... World map showing Europe (geographically) When considered a continent, Europe is the worlds second-smallest continent in terms of area, with an area of 10,600,000 km² (4,140,625 square miles), making it larger than Australia only. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1970 was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1973 was a common year starting on Monday. ...


  • Boyer, Horace Clarence. (1995). How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel. Elliott and Clark. ISBN 0252068777.
  • Heilbut, Tony (1997). The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times. Limelight Editions. ISBN 0879100346.
  • Wald, Gayle. (Sep. 2003). "From Spirituals to Swing: Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Gospel Crossover." American Quarterly, 55 (3), 387-416.



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