“Without gospel music there never would have been an Elvis Presley. There never would have been a Ray Charles, or a James Brown. From the mid-twentieth century on, gospel music not only thrived within a separate sphere as vital as the jazz, rock and rhythm and blues worlds; it also constantly intersected with the secular music industry, providing models that countless artists outside the church emulated. The Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul explores these connections as a way of reinstituting gospel’s central place within the history of American popular music.”

-Ann Powers, Author and Music Journalist
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Gospel music from the decades and it's influence on Rock and Soul

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An illustrative playlist for the GOSPEL ROOTS OF ROCK AND SOUL

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An introduction to the GOSPEL ROOTS OF ROCK AND SOUL

In 1947, a white Southern musical entrepreneur named Lee Roy Abernathy made a move that shook up churchgoing America – and the sound of popular music. That winter, the Georgia-born pianist and songwriter went into Atlanta studio with his group the Homeland Harmony Quartet to record his latest composition, “Gospel Boogie.” Abernathy was a musical entrepreneur, selling sheet music for his compositions at fifty cents a pop, and he kept his ears open to the hottest trends among the both the pious and the profane.

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FISK JUBILEE SINGERS

3/22/18

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GOSPEL ROOTS OF ROCK AND SOUL has been supported by
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

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