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During World War II, Tharpe was so popular that she was one of only two black gospel acts -- the Golden Gate Quartet being the other -- to record V-Discs for American soldiers overseas; she also toured the nation in the company of the Dixie Hummingbirds , among others. In 1944, she began recording with boogie-woogie pianist Sammy Price ; their first collaboration, "Strange Things Happening Every Day," even cracked Billboard's race records Top Ten, a rare feat for a gospel act, and one which she repeated several more times during the course of her career. In 1946, she teamed with the Newark-based Sanctified shouter Madame Marie Knight , whose simple, unaffected vocals made her the perfect counterpoint for Tharpe 's theatrics; the duo's first single, "Up Above My Head," was a huge hit, and over the next few years they played to tremendous crowds across the church circuit.

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 · American singer Rosetta Tharpe is credited with popularizing gospel music among secular audiences during the 1930s and '40s. Learn more at .


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