Johnny Cash

Daniel Burke 02-20-2013
RNS photo by Charles Peterson/courtesy PBS American Masters.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe performs in Cafe Society in 1940. RNS photo by Charles Peterson/courtesy PBS American Masters.

Before Elvis and Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash. Before Aretha and Whitney and Beyonce. Before the blues met gospel and conceived rock ‘n’ roll, there was Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

The first gospel superstar, Tharpe was a guitar hero in a flower-print dress whose bluesy chops and strutting style would be mimicked by countless acolytes, both white and black.

“I mean, she’s singing religious music, but she is singing rock ‘n’ roll,” said one such devotee, Jerry Lee Lewis, of “Great Balls of Fire” fame. “She’s hitting that guitar, playing that guitar, and she is singing. I said, ‘Whoooo. Sister Rosetta Tharpe!’”

Though no longer a household name, Tharpe gets the star treatment in a new documentary for the PBS series American MastersSister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll will be broadcast Friday on PBS in honor of Black History Month.

Cathleen Falsani 11-06-2012

From the Man in Black to the Beastie Boys and everything in between -- we give you a little compilation of video salve to help you get through election night.

the Web Editors 09-05-2012
Johnny Cash's to-do list. Image via Open Culture.

Johnny Cash's to-do list. Image via Open Culture.

From Open Culture:

Somewhere along the way (we’re not sure when) The Man in Black jotted down 10 “Things to Do Today!” This list feels almost like something you and I could have written, the stuff of mortals.

Cathleen Falsani 09-22-2011

"It ALL began when they come took me from my home
And put me on Death Row,
a crime for which I am totally innocent, you know."

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