Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul Radio Special

Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul

Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul is a special four-part weekly radio show celebrating Black gospel music’s profound and under acknowledged influence on early rock and soul music.

Hosted by Grammy award-winning gospel singer Cece Winans, and produced by WXPN, Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul will be available starting February 2, 2020 to celebrate Black History Month. This limited-run series is the culmination of a 15-month period of live events in Philadelphia with gospel legends The Fairfield Four, The Dixie Hummingbirds, the Fisk Jubilee Singers and numerous interviews with musicians, historians and scholars. Each hour of Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul will illustrate the influence of gospel on secular music, celebrating the roots of black gospel and its impact on major artists.

The series explores the history and foundation of Black gospel from spirituals, and how those songs informed the music of the great gospel quartets. (Read a great essay about the series here.)  In examining how rock, soul, and R&B grew from the roots of gospel, it highlights highly influential artists such as Sam Cooke, who transitioned from gospel to secular music; Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her early rock stylings; and Elvis Presley, who helped expose white audiences to gospel music.

Examples of some of the most beloved contemporary pop music of the last 60 years, from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and Ray Charles, illustrate gospel music’s influence. Learn more about the series here.

Listen on WLVR 91.3 Sunday Nights from 8pm – 9pm February 2, 9, 16 and 23.


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