Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe selected for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees. They are Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, the Cars; and Sister Rosetta Tharpe will be given an Early Influence award. The 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock Hall will host a week of events leading up to the celebration including the unveiling of the 2018 Inductee exhibit and Hall of Fame floor.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony will again have its television premiere on HBO, and a radio broadcast on SiriusXM. To be eligible for Induction, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. The 2018 Nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992.

Nina Simone’s triumphant voice sang what it meant to be young, gifted and black in a sometimes unjust and troubled world. Rolling Stone magazine named Nina Simone one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Her astonishing, unclassifiable range has made it especially difficult to assess Simone’s legacy – often considered a jazz singer (particularly because of her masterful piano playing), she was classically trained, yet her nickname was “The High Priestess of Soul.”

Simone’s music provided the true soundtrack to the civil rights movement, and her inspiration as an artist and an activist has been celebrated by many, among them Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, John Legend, Common, and Alicia Keys, who once wrote that “she made me want to live life, learn and experience it earnestly and use my voice to say SOMETHING!”

Simone’s groundbreaking compositions like “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women” defined a songwriting voice that was proudly, defiantly black and female. An icon whose tortured life was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, Nina Simone was a unique creative force.

Nina Simone died in 2003 and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who has experienced a huge resurgence of interest in the past decade, died in 1973. The Hall of Fame is likely to bring in artists they inspired to perform their music.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Rosetta Nubin, known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, is one of the essential figures in the history of rock and roll. Her heartfelt gospel folksiness gave way to her roaring mastery of her trusty Gibson SG, which she wielded on a level that rivaled the best of her male contemporaries. If she had not been there as a model and inspiration, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock originators would have had different careers. No one deserves more to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Sister Rosetta became famous in 1938 with a record called “Rock Me.” She was a star through the 1940’s, a black woman singing gospel music to the accompaniment of her own driving electric guitar – howling and stamping. Her 1945 recording “Strange Things Happening Every Day” has been credited as the first gospel song to cross over to the “race” (later called “R&B”) charts – reaching Number Two and becoming an early model for rock and roll.

She was a sensation, selling out arenas into the 1950’s. In 1947, Sister Rosetta was the first person to put a 14-year-old boy named Little Richard Penniman on a stage. It changed Little Richard’s life – he decided right then to become a performer.

By the early Sixties the musical revolution she inspired had forgotten her – so Sister Rosetta went to England and played electric guitar for the young blues fans of London and Liverpool. Without Sister Rosetta Tharpe, rock and roll would be a different music. She is the founding mother who gave rock’s founding fathers the idea.