Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Feb 11th 2011 10:30AM by Pat Pemberton
Chris Ware, Keystone Features / Getty Images
Sister Rosetta Tharpe poses in prayer with an electric guitar during a concert with Chris Barber's jazz band. Even today, few black women are noted for their guitar work. But the gospel-singing Tharpe was belting out rock licks well before rock 'n' roll was even coined, offering inspiration to artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
After mastering guitar at age 6, Tharpe was playing gospel professionally in the late 1930s -- when some of those rock licks first surfaced. But it was her blues influences that would appeal to acts like Little Richard, who sang with her onstage as a child in 1945, and Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who backed her on tour in 1958. By the time this photo was taken, Tharpe had tried to make it into secular music, but by then she was too old for the youthful rock and R&B crowds in America, so she left for Europe. After she died in 1973, her grave was unmarked for 35 years before fans chipped in to buy a headstone.