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American Masters

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother Of Rock & Roll

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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.


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  • En Español: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey 
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  • 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
  • Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
  • 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


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