How gospel music gave birth to rock and soul?

February 02, 2019

Capping a 16-month project funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, WXPN will debut a four-part radio documentary on Feb. 4, sharing the stories of the early beginnings and influence of gospel music.

The story of gospel music is one of the origins.

Ostensibly, it tells an origin story of people and the world. But examining it through a different lens—one that places it in pop culture—it unfurls the histories of modern music, reminding us that the soulful sounds of Ray Charles, the earnest wailing of Aretha Franklin, and the bluesy rock ‘n’ roll of Elvis Presley all owe themselves to the sonorous sounds of gospel.

It’s this subject and more that WXPN tackles in its new radio documentary, “The Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul.” The four-part documentary will air on WXPN from Feb. 4-7, with one-hour episodes airing every night at 8 p.m., and a four-hour broadcast of all four parts at a later date. The documentary will also be broadcast nationally thanks to distribution by NPR. (Just some of the other cities to air the documentary: San Francisco, Orlando, Baltimore, Denver, and Memphis.)

More info here.