American Masters

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother Of Rock & Roll

Series Website »
Episode Guide »
During the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Southern-born, Chicago-raised and New York-made Sister Rosetta Tharpe introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of popular rock 'n roll, inspiring the male icons of the genre. This flamboyant African-American gospel superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly electrified guitar, was a natural-born performer and a rebel -- one of the most important singer-musicians of the 20th century. She is acknowledged as a major influence not only on generations of black musicians -- including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James -- but also on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.


  • The Women's List
  • En Español: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey 
  • Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey
  • Althea
  • American Ballet Theatre: A History - Full Episode
  • Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler - Full Film
  • August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand - Full Film
  • Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice
  • Bing Crosby Rediscovered - Full Film
  • The Boomer List
  • Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning
  • Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun - Full Film
  • Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself - Full Film
  • Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. Full Film
  • Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love
  • Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' - Director's Cut
  • Billie Jean King
  • Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
  • Philip Roth: Unmasked
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll
  • Film: Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance
  • Inventing David Geffen
  • The Day Carl Sandburg Died
  • Johnny Carson: King of Late Night


Share your thoughts, questions, and comments on "American Masters" here.

Vermont PBS educates, informs, entertains and inspires Vermonters to be lifelong learners and engaged in their community.

Sign up for the Vermont PBS Weekly

Our weekly email newsletter highlighting upcoming shows and important station news. Sign up today!

Check out our Vermont PBS Wish List

The Wish List is where we display things our station needs. If you enjoy tangible giving, you might consider funding an item – individually or with a group. Click for more info 

Downton Abbey, Season 6 Free Preview Screenings

Vermont PBS is hosting five FREE sneak previews of the first episode of Downton Abbey, Season 6, at locations around the state.

Eat healthy with Daniel Tiger!

Click and print these fun pages (pdf) to help motivate your kids to eat healthy! Brought to you locally by City Market.


Vermont PBS donors talk about why they love and support us!

Vermont PBS PLUS!

Learn about our second HD broadcast service offering alternative programming and more content from local and regional producers.

Vermont PBS Travels on Tumblr

Follow us on Tumblr for fun photos and stories from our crew as they travel outside the station for various events and filiming on location!

Lifelong Learning

Upcoming and featured!

People talk about Vermont PBS!

Vermont PBS

204 Ethan Allen Avenue
Colchester, VT 05446
(802) 655-4800
© 2015 Vermont PBS
All Rights Reserved

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn