Check out the Sister’s original 1944 recording below
|Sister Rosetta Tharpe|
drops to number five in my ‘Earliest Rock & Roll Releases’ list (below) because America’s
original soul sister has taken his spot.
the rocking, ‘Strange Things Happen Every Day’, with Decca’s house band in New
York in 1944. The first gospel song to top the Harlem Hit Parade, this track
is also considered by some experts to be the world’s first rock & roll
song. However, Albert Ammons (1936) or Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson (1938) might have a thing or two to say about that.
between 1915 and 1921, (she was cagey about her age) Rosetta was the first to
turn a traditional African-American
spiritual into rock & roll. She
was also the first to do windmill chord-strikes on her electric Gibson long
before Chuck Berry, and way before Pete Townsend was even born (although Pete
says he pinched the windmill action off Keith Richards after watching the Stone
warm up) .
is that Rosetta hit number one on the Harlem* chart on the day Adolf Hitler
killed himself in his Berlin bunker in April 1945
was a favourite of Elvis, Little Richard and a host of other rock icons. Said
Jerry Lee Lewis, “There’s a woman who can sing some rock and roll. I mean,
she’s singing religious music, but she is singing rock and roll. She’s …
shakin’ man … She jumps it. She’s hitting that guitar, playing that guitar,
and she is singing. I said, ‘Whoooo. Sister Rosetta Tharpe.”
She was also said to be Johnny Cash’s favourite singer.
the number of juke box plays, Billboard’s Harlem chart became known as the Race
Records chart in 1945 and the Rhythm &
Blues chart in 1949.
these the world’s first true rock & roll releases?
Boogie Woogie Stomp, Albert Ammons. 1936, Chicago.
Roll ‘Em Pete, Big Joe Turner & Pete Johnson. 1938, New York.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, The Andrews Sisters. 1940, Hollywood, Los Angeles.
That’s All Right (Mama), Arthur Big Boy’ Crudup. 1946, Chicago.