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Dead Ladies Show Podcast

Sister Rosetta Tharpe


In episode 38, we hear the sweet, sweet music of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the godmother of rock’n’roll.

DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens brings us the tale of this legendary guitarist and gospel singer who had a profound influence on musicians like Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Aretha Franklin. She took to the stage at the age of four, and never really left it.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe made the first gospel record to hit the charts, played with Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club, attracted 25,000 paying customers to her third wedding, got in trouble with gospel purists and recorded a live album in Paris in 1964.

To start off the episode, Susan and Katy toast to the end of a strange year with the Dead Ladies Show signature tipple, affordable German bubbly Rotkäppchen (Red Riding Hood) and give thanks for the support we’ve had and that yet to come.

The presentation in this episode was recorded live with help from Brigitte Hamar at the Studiobühne der Universität Münster where we were invited by the Burg Hülshoff Center for Literature. Other talks from this event in German can be found here:


Thanks also to Fiona, Kati, Tobias, Feline and Jörg for inviting and assisting us.

To learn more, visit our episode page here: https://deadladiesshow.com/2020/12/09/podcast-38-sister-rosetta-tharpe

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.


The Dead Ladies Show is a series of entertaining and inspiring talks about women who achieved amazing things against all odds, presented live in Berlin and beyond. This podcast is based on that series. Because women's history is everyone's history.

The Dead Ladies Show was founded by Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire.

The podcast is created, produced, edited, and presented by Susan Stone.

Don’t forget, we now have a Patreon! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast


Episode 38

Season 4

by Dead Ladies Show Podcast