Meet the "GodMother" of Rock & Roll.


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Every year I read some Rock & Roll Fan or Critic complain about an Artist induction in the the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Their comment is: "But it does not have its roots in Rock & Roll" It took a program on my local PBS to introduce me to a woman who by rights should have been among the first inductees.  She is the "seed" from whence the "root" would grow. 

Watch it: PBS profiles Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY1:17p.m. EST February 25, 2013
    Public Broadcasting Service
    Chuck Berry
    Elvis Presley

"She influenced Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and countless other rock 'n' roll icons.

So how come Sister Rosetta Tharpe isn't a household name?

Born in 1915 in Cotton Plant, Ark., Tharpe was one of the first gospel performers to cross over into popular music. From the 1940s-'60s, her vocal skills and talent on the newly electrified guitar caught the attention of fans young and old.

Last weekend PBS' American Masters premiered an excellent documentary about Sister Rosetta, The Godmother of Rock 'n' Roll. Directed by Mick Csaky, the movie includes archival footage and interviews about the musician, who died in 1973.

"It's not an image that I think we're used to thinking about when we think about rock 'n' roll history," says Tharpe biographer Gayle Wald. "We don't think about the black woman behind the young white man."

Right now the 53-minute flick is streaming at I highly recommend it, particularly if you're interested in the roots of rock 'n' roll."

Check out PBS trailer: