Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born March 20, 1915 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. the daughter of a traveling missionary In time, the family relocated to Chicago, where Tharpe began honing her unique style; blessed with a resonant vibrato, both her vocal phrasing and guitar style drew heavy inspiration from the blues, and she further aligned herself with the secular world with a sense of showmanship and glamour unique among the gospel performers of her era.

Signing to Decca in 1938, Tharpe became a virtual overnight sensation; her first records, among them Thomas A. Dorsey's "Rock Me" and "This Train," were smash hits, and quickly she was performing in the company of mainstream superstars including Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman. That was in the late 40's - early 50's, almost a decade before Rock & Roll but not being over looked by those early rockers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino.