This electrifying divine woman is a considerable influence and inspiration to me, as I grew up listening to Gospel music in Baptist churches. She was also a huge stated influence for icons like Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry to name just a few.
Here's an excerpt from an article discussing the magnitude of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's influence on Elvis.
As a child Rosetta accompanied her mother, traveling evangelist Katie Bell Nubin, and was described as tearing up the churches with songs such as I Looked Down The Line and God Don’t Like It. By the age of six she had mastered the guitar. Later, as one of forerunners of soul music’s ‘earth mamas’ (the big, statuesque black women with big, belting contralto voices such as Mahalia Jackson and Etta James) Rosetta tore up the clubs and churches often reducing her audience and congregation "to an emotional pulp".
Rosetta Tharpe’s records rose high on the race charts in America and influenced not only Elvis but other rockers including Jerry Lee Lewis and his hybrid of hillbilly, blues and gospel. As a recording artist she shocked her more pious black listeners with songs such as I Want A Tall Skinny Papa and delighted white listeners with Rock Me and This Train. Parallels can be drawn with Elvis physically and lyrically suggestive rendition of songs such as Shake, Rattle and Roll (in which he essentially used Big Joe Turner’s version rather than the softer lyric version sung by Bill Haley and the Comets), his rocking delivery of Jailhouse Rock and his mainstream ‘balladeering’ style on Love Me Tender.http://www.elvisinfonet.com/tharpe.html