Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson's shadowy and mysterious life, combined with his exceptional musical abilities, have led to him being known as one of the greatest blues musicians of all time.

Timeline of Career Highlights

  1. 1911: Born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi.
  2. 1931: Married Virginia Travis.
  3. 1932: Virginia Travis dies in childbirth, deeply affecting Johnson.
  4. 1936-1937: Recorded 29 distinct songs at two recording sessions in Texas (San Antonio and Dallas).
  5. 1938: Died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27 in Greenwood, Mississippi.

Discography

  1. King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961)
  2. King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. II (1970)
  3. The Complete Recordings (1990)

Famous Songs

  1. "Cross Road Blues"
  2. "Sweet Home Chicago"
  3. "Terraplane Blues"
  4. "Love in Vain"
  5. "Hellhound on My Trail"

Grammy Awards

  1. Grammy Hall of Fame Awards~
  2. "Cross Road Blues" (1998)
  3. "Love in Vain" (2006)
  4. "Sweet Home Chicago" (1998)

Collaborations and Cover Versions

  1. Robert Johnson did not collaborate extensively during his lifetime, but his music has been covered and adapted by numerous artists
  2. Eric Clapton Notably covered "Cross Road Blues" with Cream and performed Johnson’s songs in his solo career.
  3. The Rolling Stones Covered "Love in Vain" on their album "Let It Bleed".
  4. Led Zeppelin Borrowed lyrics and melodies for "Traveling Riverside Blues".
  5. Bob Dylan Cited Johnson as a major influence and covered his songs.
  6. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Covered "Cross Road Blues" on their album "Raising Sand".

Quotes

Eric Clapton

Robert Johnson to me is the most important blues musician who ever lived. I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson.

Keith Richards

You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.

Gossip and Myths

The Deal with the Devil One of the most famous myths about Johnson is that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for his musical talents. This story, although fictional, has contributed significantly to his legendary status.

Mysterious Death Johnson's death is shrouded in mystery, with theories ranging from poisoning by a jealous husband to complications from syphilis. His death certificate lists no cause of death, further adding to the legend.

Legacy

Robert Johnson's influence on the blues and modern music cannot be overstated. His recordings are a touchstone for blues musicians and a testament to his profound impact on the genre. His life, though short, was rich with myth and mystery, cementing his place as a true legend of American music.