Arkansas native Sister Rosetta Tharpe is joining a star studded group for this year's class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, which includes the iconic singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone and also Bon Jovi.
The list has four first-time nominees in The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Arkansas's own Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
A group of 19 nominees was whittled down to the six inductees that will enter the hall on April 14 in Cleveland, Ohio. That group included Radiohead, who were also eligible for the first time, but didn't make it.
Tharpe, a resident of Cotton Plant, has been long overdue for her spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Known as "the godmother of rock 'n' roll," the Arkansan will be inducted with the "Award for Early Influence." The influential artist performed gospel music while being an amazing guitarist at the same time.
After the announcement, Rolling Stone's Will Hermes wrote about why she deserved a place in history: "A queer black woman from Arkansas who shredded on electric, belted praises both to God and secular pleasures, and broke the color line touring with white singers, she was gospel's first superstar, and she most assuredly rocked."
At the age of six, Tharpe was touring on the road with her mother and was billed as the "singin and guitar playing miracle." As her popularity surged in the 1930s and 1940s, she helped to open the door for gospel music in the mainstream music industry.
Tharpe's energetic skills with the guitar and her voice inspired music legends such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. During her career, she played with the likes of Duke Ellington and the Jordanaires.
The 33rd Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at the Public Auditorium and tickets go on sale in January.
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