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Encyclopedia > Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson's most famous photograph, one of two in existence.
Born May 8, 1911
Hazlehurst, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Died August 16, 1938
Greenwood, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Genre(s) Blues
Notable guitars Gibson L-1
Years active 1936 - 1938
Official site www.deltahaze.com/johnson

Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911August 16, 1938) is among the most famous Delta Blues musicians and arguably the most influential. He is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Considered by some to be the "Grandfather of Rock-and-Roll," his vocal phrasing, original songs, and guitar style influenced a range of musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, U2, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton, who called Johnson "the most important blues musician who ever lived." Robert Johnson Source: fy:Ofbyld:Robertjohson. ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... Hazlehurst is a city located in Copiah County, Mississippi. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... United States is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Greenwood is situated in Leflore County, Mississippi at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta, approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... United States is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ... Blues music redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... See also: 1935 in music, other events of 1936, 1937 in music and the list of years in music. // Events January 4 - Billboard magazine publishes its first music hit parade April 19 - in Barcelona, Alban Bergs Violin Concerto is premiered by Louis Krasner Tony Bennetts musical career begins... See also: 1937 in music, other events of 1938, 1939 in music and the list of years in music. // Events January 16 - Benny Goodman refuses to play Carnegie Hall because black members of his orchestra are banned. ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Delta blues are named for the Mississippi Delta. ... This page is a partial list of inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, taken from the list on the Hall of Fames website. ... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at sunset. ... For the bands 1969 self-titled debut album, see Led Zeppelin (album) Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, and are one of the most successful groups in popular music history. ... Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. ... Rolling Stones redirects here. ... U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland, featuring Bono (Paul David Hewson) on vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica; The Edge (David Howell Evans) on lead guitar, keyboards and vocals; Adam Clayton on bass guitar; and Larry Mullen Jr. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... An example of the famous Clapton is God graffiti craze Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born March 30, 1945), nicknamed Slowhand, is a Grammy Award winning English guitarist, singer and composer, who is one of the most respected and influential musicians of the rock era, garnering an unprecedented three inductions into...


Of all the great blues musicians, Johnson was probably the most obscure. All that is known of him for certain is that he recorded 29 songs; he died young; and he was one of the greatest bluesmen of the Mississippi Delta.


There are only five dates in Johnson's life that can undeniably be used to assign him to a place in history: Monday, November 23; Thursday, November 26; and Friday, November 27, 1936, he was in San Antonio, Texas, at a recording session. Seven months later, on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20, 1937, he was in Dallas at another session. Everything else about his life is an attempt at reconstruction. As director Martin Scorsese says in his foreword to Alan Greenberg's play 'Love In Vain: A Vision of Robert Johnson', "The thing about Robert Johnson was that he only existed on his records. He was pure legend." November 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 38 days remaining. ... November 26 is the 330th day (331st on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... November 27 is the 331st day (332nd on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Nickname: Alamo City; River City Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Counties Bexar County Mayor Phil Hardberger Area    - City 1067. ... June 19 is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 195 days remaining. ... June 20 is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 194 days remaining. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Dallas redirects here. ... Martin Luciano Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an acclaimed American film director. ...

Contents

Life and career

Beginnings

Robert Johnson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi sometime around May 8, 1911, the 11th child of Julia Major Dodds, who had previously borne 10 children to her husband Charles Dodds. Born illegitimate, Johnson did not take the Dodds name. Hazlehurst is a city located in Copiah County, Mississippi. ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ...


Twenty two-year-old Charles Dodds had married Julia Major in Hazlehurst, Mississippi—about 35 miles from Jackson—in 1889. Charles Dodds owned land and made wicker furniture; his family was well off until he was forced out of Hazlehurst around 1909 by a lynch mob following an argument with some of the more prosperous townsfolk. (There was a family legend that Dodds escaped from Hazlehurst dressed in women's clothing.) Over the next two years, Julia Dodds sent their children one at time to live with their father in Memphis, where Charles Dodds had adopted the name of Charles Spencer. Julia stayed behind in Hazlehurst with two daughters, until she was evicted for nonpayment of taxes. 1889 (MDCCCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


By that time she had given birth to a son, Robert, who was fathered by a field worker named Noah Johnson. Unwelcome in Charles Dodds' home, Julia Dodds became an itinerant field worker, picking cotton and living in camps as she moved among plantations. While she worked in the fields, her eight-year-old daughter took care of Johnson. Over the next ten years, Dodds would make repeated attempts to reunite the family, but Charles Dodds never stopped resenting her infidelity. Although Charles Dodds would eventually accept Johnson, he never would forgive his wife for giving birth to him. While in his teens, Johnson learned who his father was, and it was at that time that he began calling himself Robert Johnson. Cotton ready for harvest. ... In a religious context, infidelity is an absence of faith in the beliefs or teachings of a religion, such that one who lacks such faith is an infidel. ...


Around 1914, Johnson moved in with Charles Dodds' family, which by that time included all of Dodds' children by Julia Dodds, as well as Dodds' mistress from Hazlehurst and their two children. Johnson would spend the next several years in Memphis, and it was reportedly about this time that he began playing the guitar under his older half-brother's tutelage.


Johnson did not rejoin his mother until she had remarried several years later. By the end of the decade, he was back in the Mississippi Delta living with his mother and her new husband, Dusty Willis. Johnson and his stepfather, who had little tolerance for music, did not get along, and Johnson had to slip out of the house to join his musician friends.


It is not known whether Johnson attended school in the Delta during this time. Some later accounts say that he could neither read nor write, while others tell of his beautiful handwriting. In any case, everyone agrees that music was Johnson's first interest, and that he had his start playing the Jew's harp and harmonica. It has been suggested that Morsing be merged into this article or section. ... Wikibooks has a book on the topic of Harmonica A harmonica is a free reed musical wind instrument (also known, among other things, as a mouth organ or mouth harp, Hobo Harp, French harp, tin sandwich, lickin stick, blues harp, simply harp, or Mississippi saxophone), having multiple, variably-tuned brass...


Bluesman

By 1930, Johnson had married and became serious about playing the guitar. During the time that he was married, he lived with his sister and her husband. However, his wife died in childbirth at the age of 16. By some accounts, Johnson briefly moved back with his mother and stepfather, where he encountered the same problems that he had found intolerable when he was growing up and soon left. In 1931, he married for a second time. By then, his fellow musicians were beginning to take note of his precocity on the acoustic guitar. 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link is to a full 1930 calendar). ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ...


Johnson began traveling up and down the Delta, travelling by bus, hopping trains, and sometimes hitchhiking. When he arrived in a new town, he would play on street corners or in front of the local barbershop or a restaurant. He played what his audience asked for—not necessarily his own compositions. Anything he earned was based on tips, not salary. With an ability to pick up tunes at first hearing, Johnson had no trouble giving his audiences what they wanted. Also working in his favor was an ability to establish instant rapport with his audiences. In every town he stopped, Johnson would establish ties to the local community that would serve him in good stead when he passed through again a month or a year later. A traditional musical style, see Barbershop music A 2002 motion picture, see Barbershop (movie) A place where barbers work, see Barbershop (hair) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Fellow musician Johnny Shines was 17 when he met Johnson in 1933. He estimated that Johnson was maybe a year older than himself. In Samuel Charters' Robert Johnson, the author quotes Shines as saying, "Robert was a very friendly person, even though he was sulky at times, you know. And I hung around Robert for quite a while. One evening he disappeared. He was kind of [a] peculiar fellow. Robert'd be standing up playing some place, playing like nobody's business. At about that time it was a hustle with him as well as a pleasure. And money'd be coming from all directions. But Robert'd just pick up and walk off and leave you standing there playing. And you wouldn't see Robert no more maybe in two or three weeks.... So Robert and I, we began journeying off. I was just, matter of fact, tagging along." 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...


During this time Johnson established what would be a relatively long-term relationship with a woman who was about 15 years older than himself—the mother of future musician Robert Jr. Lockwood. But Johnson reportedly also had someone—a woman—to look after him in all of the towns he played in. Johnson would reportedly ask young women living in the country with their families whether he could go home with them, and in most cases the answer was yes. At least until their husbands came home or Johnson was ready to move on. Robert Lockwood Jr. ...


Recording Sessions

Around 1936, Johnson met H. C. Spier in Jackson, Mississippi, who ran a music store and doubled as a talent scout. Spier put Johnson in touch with Ernie Oertle, who offered to record the young musician in San Antonio, Texas. At the recording session, Johnson was too shy to perform in front of the musicians in the studio, so played facing the wall. [Playing into the corner of a wall was in fact a recording technique popular in the 1930s]. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections. When the recording session was over, Johnson presumably returned home with several hundred dollars in his pocket; probably more money than he'd ever had at one time in his life. 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Nickname: Alamo City; River City Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Counties Bexar County Mayor Phil Hardberger Area    - City 1067. ...


Among the songs Johnson recorded in San Antonio were "Come On In My Kitchen," "Kind Hearted Woman," "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Cross Roads Blues." "Come On In My Kitchen" included the lines: "The woman I love took from my best friend/Some joker got lucky, stole her back again,/You better come on in my kitchen, it's going to be rainin' outdoors." In "Cross Roads Blues," another of his great songs, he sang: "I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees./I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees./I asked the Lord a bove, have mercy, save poor Bob if you please./Uumb, standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride./Standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride./Ain't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by." I Believe Ill Dust My Broom Vocalion 03475 Dust My Broom is a blues standard originally recorded by Robert Johnson, the legendary Mississippi Delta blues singer and guiarist, on November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas. ...


When his records began appearing, Johnson made the rounds to his relatives and the various children he had fathered to bring them the records himself. The first songs to appear were "Terraplane Blues" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," probably the only recordings of his that he would live to hear.


In 1937, Johnson traveled to Dallas, Texas, for another recording session. Eleven records from this session would be released within the following year. Among them were the three songs that would largely contribute to Johnson's posthumous fame: "Stones In My Passway," "Me And The Devil," and "Hell Hound On My Trail." "Stones In My Passway" and "Me And The Devil" are both about betrayal, a recurrent theme in country blues. The terrifying "Hell Hound On My Trail" - utilising another common theme of fear of the Devil - is often considered to be the crowning achievement of blues-style music. Other themes in Johnson's music include impotence (Dead Shrimp Blues and Phonograph Blues) and infidelity (Terraplane Blues, If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day and Love in Vain). 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...      Nickname: Big D Location in the state of Texas Country United States State Texas Counties Dallas, Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall Mayor Laura Miller Area    - City 997. ...


Interestingly, although not unsually, six of Johnson's blues songs mention the devil or some form of the supernatural. In "Me And The Devil," he began, "Early this morning when you knocked upon my door,/Early this morning, umb, when you knocked upon my door,/And I said, ' Hello, Satan, I believe it's time to go,'" before leading into "You may bury my body down by the highway side,/ You may bury my body, uumh, down by the highway side,/So my old evil spirit can get on a Greyhound bus and ride."


It has been suggested that the Devil in these songs does not solely refer to the Christian model of Satan, but equally to the African Trickster God, Legba. [[1]]


Primary Compilations of Johnson's Work

Johnson's recordings have remained continuously available since John Hammond convinced Columbia Records to compile the first Johnson LP, King of the Delta Blues Singers, in 1961. A sequel LP, assembling the rest of what could be found of Johnson's recordings at that time, was issued in 1970. An omnibus two-CD set (The Complete Recordings) was released in 1990 [Sony/Columbia Legacy 46222], containing all 41 known recordings of his 29 compositions. John Henry Hammond (December 15, 1910 – July 10, 1987) was a record producer, musician and music critic from the 1930s to the early 1980s. ... Columbia Records is the oldest continually used brand name in recorded sound, dating back to 1888. ... The King of the Delta Blues Singers was recorded by Robert Johnson (1911-1938), and is considered one of the greatest (and most influential) blues recordings ever. ...


A 1996 plastic jewel-case remaster of the "Complete" set [Sony/Columbia Legacy 64916] corrected fidelity and pitch problems from the cardboard-packaged box. The more recent CD re-releases of "King of the Delta Blues Singers" Volumes 1 & 2 improve the sound quality far more dramatically, but don't include 10 alternate takes (and two accidental introductions) found on "Complete." Volume 1 includes a recently discovered alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" which is not included on the "Complete" collection. This now brings the number of known Johnson recordings to 42.


Recording pitch question

Johnson's recorded work has become more widely heard since the Columbia double CD release. Some musicians have opined that the recordings run too fast. Johnson mainly used open tunings like open G and open E, and often used a capo to change the pitch of the song. This means that some passages would be played very high upon the neck of the guitar, which would make them very difficult to execute, or in some cases impossible to play at all (for example, the intro of "Walkin' Blues, which should be played on the 16th fret of a 12-fret-to-the-body-guitar). Some passages of Johnson's guitar playing sound constrained and not natural to the modern ear (as modern music would sound when it is speeded up), and some of his vocals sound out of tune and robotic. When Johnson's music is slowed down (one article [[2]] even states slowed down 20%), Johnson's music sounds more natural, his guitar sounds warmer and fuller and more in line with other recordings from the late 1930's. His voice becomes more expressive although it loses some of Johnson's trademark emotional "whine". Speeding up recorded music is common in popular music, as it makes music sound fresher and it ads punch and energy. In guitar playing, an open tuning is one where the strings are tuned so that a chord is achieved without fretting, or pressing any of the strings. ... Open-E GmbH was founded on September 9, 1998 in Bremen, Germany. ... A basic guitar capo A capo (short for capodastra) is a device used for shortening the strings, and hence raising the pitch, of a stringed instrument such as a guitar, mandolin or banjo. ...


Death at the Crossroads

Robert Johnson's tombstone
Robert Johnson's tombstone

In the last year of his life, Johnson is believed to have traveled to St. Louis and possibly Illinois. He spent some time in Memphis and traveled through the Mississippi Delta and Arkansas. By the time he died, at least six of his records had been released. Image File history File links TombstoneRobert_Johnson. ... Image File history File links TombstoneRobert_Johnson. ... Nickname: Gateway City, Gateway to the West, or Mound City Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: Country United States State Missouri County Independent City Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area    - City 66. ... Official language(s) English Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... Memphis was the wife of Epaphus, the founder of Memphis, Egypt in Greek mythology. ... Official language(s) English Capital Little Rock Largest city Little Rock Area  Ranked 29th  - Total 53,179 sq mi (137,732 km²)  - Width 239 miles (385 km)  - Length 261 miles (420 km)  - % water 2. ...


His death occurred on August 16, 1938, at the approximate age of 27 at a little country crossroads near Greenwood, Mississippi. He had been playing for several weeks at a country dance in a town about 15 miles from Greenwood when, by some accounts, he was given poisoned whiskey at the dance by the husband of a woman he had been secretly seeing. August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... An approximation is an inexact representation of something that is still close enough to be useful. ... Greenwood is situated in Leflore County, Mississippi at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta, approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. ...


Another account is that he had been flirting with the girlfriend of the bartender at a club when he was offered an open bottle of whiskey. Before he could take a drink from it, somebody knocked the bottle out of his hand, informing him that he should never drink from an offered bottle that has already been opened. Robert Johnson allegedly said, "don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand". A minute later, he was offered an open bottle and accepted it. That bottle came from the bartender and was laced with strychnine. Ironically, Robert Johnson is said to have survived that poisoning only to succumb to pneumonia later, in his weakened state. Strychnine (pronounced (British) or (U.S.)) is a very toxic (LD50 = 1 mg/kg), colourless crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as rodents. ...


David Connell, in an article in the British Medical Journal in 2006 entitled Retrospective blues: Robert Johnson — an open letter to Eric Clapton, has suggested that the cause of Johnson's death may have been Marfan's syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. The most obvious symptoms Johnson had were his long fingers, legs and arms. Other symptoms are curved spine, eye problems (Johnson was said to have 'one bad eye') and a slim body. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is a medical journal published weekly in the United Kingdom by the British Medical Association (BMA)which published its first issue in 1845. ... Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder characterized by unusually long limbs. ...


Johnson was buried in the graveyard of a small church near Morgan City, Mississippi, not far from Greenwood, in an unmarked grave. His life would be short but his music would serve as the root source for an entire generation of blues and rock and roll musicians. Morgan City is a town located in Leflore County, Mississippi. ...


Among the Mississippi Delta bluesmen believed to have exerted the strongest influences on Johnson's music are Charley Patton, Willie Brown, Howlin' Wolf, Tommy Johnson, and Son House. Peter Guralnick, in Searching for Robert Johnson, quotes Son House, "We'd all play for the Saturday night balls, and there'd be this little boy standing around. That was Robert Johnson. He was just a little boy then. He blew harmonica and he was pretty good with that, but he wanted to play guitar." Charley Patton Charley Patton (May 1, 1891–April 28, 1934) was an American delta blues musician, and one of the first mainstream stars of the genre. ... The name Willie Brown may refer to the following people: Willie Brown, a Californian politician. ... Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), better known as Howlin Wolf or sometimes, The Howlin Wolf, was an influential blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player. ... Tommy Johnson (1896 – November 1, 1956) was an influential delta blues musician. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Influence

Johnson is widely cited as "the greatest blues singer of all time" or even the most important musician of the 20th century, but many listeners are disappointed by their first encounter with his work. This reaction may be because of their unfamiliarity with the raw emotion and sparse form of the Delta style or because of the thin sound of the recordings when compared to modern music production standards. Johnson's guitar work was adroit and his voice was high-pitched. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...


The claims made for Johnson's originality and even his influence are often greatly exaggerated. He certainly did not invent the blues, which had existed on record for over fifteen years before he recorded. His primary influence was the inimitable Son House who, more than anyone else (except his friend Charley Patton), can claim to have heavily influenced what is now considered the mainstream of the Delta blues, with his rough voice and searing slide guitar riffs played on a steel-bodied National guitar. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Charley Patton Charley Patton (May 1, 1891–April 28, 1934) was an American delta blues musician, and one of the first mainstream stars of the genre. ... Delta blues are named for the Mississippi Delta. ...


But Johnson added to this the keening whimsy of then-obscure Skip James and the jazzy inventiveness of Lonnie Johnson. Indeed, a couple of his songs are nothing other than imitations of his famous namesake. Johnson had also listened to Leroy Carr, who was probably the most popular male blues singer of the time, and based several songs on the records of the urban blues recording stars Kokomo Arnold (source for both "Sweet Home Chicago" and "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom") and Peetie Wheatstraw. Nehemiah Curtis Skip James (June 21, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. ... Jazz is an original American musical art form that originated around the start of the 20th century in New Orleans, rooted in African American musical styles blended with Western music technique and theory. ... Alfonzo Lonnie Johnson (February 8, 1894 – June 6, 1970) was a pioneering blues and jazz singer/guitarist born in New Orleans, Louisiana. ... Leroy Carr (March 27, 1905 – April 29, 1935) was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist who developed a laid-back, crooning technique and whose popularity and style influenced artists like Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. ... Kokomo Arnold (15 February 1901–8 November 1968) was an American blues musician. ... I Believe Ill Dust My Broom Vocalion 03475 Dust My Broom is a blues standard originally recorded by Robert Johnson, the legendary Mississippi Delta blues singer and guiarist, on November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas. ... Peetie Wheatstraw Peetie Wheatstraw (December 21, 1902 - December 21, 1941) was the name adopted by singer William Bunch, a greatly influential figure among 1930s Delta Blues singers. ...


What Johnson did with these and other diverse influences was create a new sound that was at once immediate and artful. His use of the bass strings to create a steady, rolling rhythm can be heard on songs like "Sweet Home Chicago". His penchant for strange snatches of melodic invention on the upper strings, mingling with a quite different vocal line, appears on "Walking Blues". Johnson played with the young Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson II, and allegedly trained his own stepson, Robert "Junior" Lockwood, as well. Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), better known as Howlin Wolf or sometimes, The Howlin Wolf, was an influential blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player. ... Sonny Boy Williamson, circa 1964 Aleck Rice Miller (December 5, 1899 - May 25, 1965), a. ... Robert Junior Lockwood, Jr. ...


There is a direct line of influence from Johnson to rock music. Blues musician and historian Elijah Wald feels that Johnson's major influence is on rock itself—particularly on white rock. He has made the controversial appraisal that As far as the evolution of black music goes, Robert Johnson was an extremely minor figure, and very little that happened in the decades following his death would have been affected if he had never played a note.[1] Assessments such as Eric Clapton's of Johnson as "the most important blues musician who ever lived," Wald demonstrates convincingly, came with the best of intentions to expand Johnson's reputation past its enormous impact on rock. The truth was that Johnson, although well traveled and always admired in his performances, was little heard by the standards of his time and place, and his records even less so. ("Terraplane Blues," sometimes described as Johnson's only hit record, outsold his others but was still a very minor success at best.) If one had asked black blues fans about Robert Johnson in the first twenty years after his death, writes Wald, "the response in the vast majority of cases would have been a puzzled 'Robert who?'" Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ...


Years after his death, however, Johnson's recordings saw a wide release and a fan club grew around them, including rock stars such as Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. When Keith Richards was first introduced to Johnson's music by his band mate Brian Jones, he replied, "Who is the other guy playing with him?", not realizing it was all Johnson playing on one guitar. Clapton described Johnson's music as "the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice". The song "Crossroads" by British blues rock/psychedelic band Cream is a cover version of Johnson's "Cross Road Blues", about the legend of Johnson selling his soul to the Devil at the crossroads, although Johnson's original lyrics ("Standin' at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride") suggest he was merely hitchhiking rather than signing away his soul to Lucifer in exchange for being a great blues musician. Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943 in Dartford, Kent) is an English guitarist, songwriter, and singer. ... Rolling Stones redirects here. ... An example of the famous Clapton is God graffiti craze Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born March 30, 1945), nicknamed Slowhand, is a Grammy Award winning English guitarist, singer and composer, who is one of the most respected and influential musicians of the rock era, garnering an unprecedented three inductions into... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Cream was a 1960s British supergroup which featured guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker. ... In popular music, a cover version, or simply cover, is a new rendition (performance or recording) of a previously recorded song. ...


An important aspect of Johnson's singing, and indeed of all Delta Blues singing styles, and also of Chicago blues guitar playing, is the use of microtonality -- his subtle inflections of pitch are part of the reason why his singing conveys such powerful emotion. Microtonal music is music using microtones -- intervals of less than a semitone, or as Charles Ives put it, the notes between the cracks of the piano. ... Pitch is the perceived fundamental frequency of a sound. ...


John P. Hammond (the son of the aforementioned John Hammond) produced a documentary in the early 1990s about Johnson's life in the Delta area. John Hammond album cover John Paul Hammond (born November 13, 1942), also known as John Hammond Jr. ...


In the summer of 2003, Rolling Stone magazine listed Johnson at number five in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time [3] Rolling Stone is an American magazine devoted to music, politics and popular culture. ...


Major artists influenced by Johnson

Many artists have recorded Johnson's songs. The following musicians have been heavily influenced by him, as evidenced by recording several of his songs:

  • Eric Clapton released in 2004 an album consisting solely of covers of Johnson's songs, Me and Mr. Johnson. In addition, he had previously performed or recorded I'm a Steady Rolling Man, Cross Road Blues, Malted Milk, Walkin' Blues, From Four Until Late, Crossroads, If I had Possession over Judgement Day, and Ramblin' On My Mind.
  • Led Zeppelin (Traveling Riverside Blues)
  • Cream (Four Until Late, Crossroads)
  • The Rolling Stones (Love in Vain, Stop Breaking Down)
  • Bob Dylan (Kindhearted Woman Blues, Milkcow's Calf Blues, Rambling On My Mind, I'm A Steady Rolling Man)
  • Grateful Dead Walking Blues was a regular feature of the Dead's live repertoire in the 1990s, as arranged and sung by Bob Weir. Recorded versions appear on Without A Net (1990), Dozin' At The Knick (1996), Terrapin Station (Limited Edition) (1997), Dick's Picks, Vol. 17 (2000) and Truckin' Up To Buffalo (2005 - CD and DVD). Weir's band Ratdog also covers Walking Blues, and numerous recorded versions have been released by direct CD marketing.[[4]]
  • Fleetwood Mac (Hellhound On My Trail, Kind Hearted Woman, Preachin' Blues, Dust My Broom, Sweet Home Chicago)
  • Peter Green Splinter Group (all 29 songs)
  • Keb' Mo (Come On In My Kitchen, Last Fair Deal Gone Down, Kindhearted Woman Blues, Love In Vain)
  • John Hammond Jr. (32-20 Blues, Milkcow's Calf Blues, Traveling Riverside Blues, Stones In My Passway, Crossroads Blues, Hellbound Blues [Hellhound On My Trail], Me And The Devil Blues, Walking Blues, Come On In My Kitchen, Preaching Blues, Sweet Home Chicago, When You Got A Good Friend, Judgement Day, Rambling Blues)
  • Rory Block released in 2006 an album consisting solely of covers of Johnson's songs, The Lady and Mr. Johnson. In addition, she had previously performed or recorded Come On In My Kitchen, Hellhound On My Trail, If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, Rambling On My Mind, Walking Blues, Cross Road Blues, Walking Blues, Kindhearted Man [Kindhearted Woman Blues], Terraplane Blues, When You Got a Good Friend, Me and the Devil Blues, Stones in my Passway, Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Traveling Riverside Blues
  • Robert "Junior" Lockwood (32-20 Blues, Stop Breakin’ Down Blues, Little Queen Of Spades, I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom, Ramblin’ On My Mind, Love In Vain Blues, Kind Hearted Woman Blues, Walking Blues, I’m A Steady Rollin’ Man, Sweet Home Chicago)
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered "They're Red Hot" as the last track on their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. John Frusciante, the guitarist of the group, has said that he listened to Johnson every single night throughout the writing and recording of the album. It had a heavy influence on his subsequent solo work in particular.
  • The White Stripes covered "Stop Breaking Down Blues," dropping "Blues" in the title, on their eponymous debut album. They have also recorded Stop Breaking Down Blues as the b-side to their 2002 single, Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground. They have covered many Robert Johnson songs on stage, including Stones In My Passway.

An example of the famous Clapton is God graffiti craze Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born March 30, 1945), nicknamed Slowhand, is a Grammy Award winning English guitarist, singer and composer, who is one of the most respected and influential musicians of the rock era, garnering an unprecedented three inductions into... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Me and Mr. ... For the bands 1969 self-titled debut album, see Led Zeppelin (album) Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, and are one of the most successful groups in popular music history. ... Cream was a 1960s British supergroup which featured guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker. ... Rolling Stones redirects here. ... Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. ... The Grateful Dead were an American psychedelia-influenced rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. ... Robert Hall Weir (October 16, 1947–) is an American guitar player, most recognized as a founding member of the Grateful Dead. ... Terrapin Station (Limited Edition) was a triple live album by the Grateful Dead released in 1997. ... Ratdog, also known as Bob Weir and Ratdog, is an American rock band. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... The Peter Green Splinter Group was a band of guitarist and singer, Peter Green, of Buxton in Derbyshire. ... Keb Mo is a noted blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter. ... John Hammond album cover John Paul Hammond (born November 13, 1942), also known as John Hammond Jr. ... Rory Block is a female blues guitarist and singer, one of the most notable exponents of the country blues style in the present era. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Robert Junior Lockwood, Jr. ... Red Hot Chili Peppers are a Grammy Award-winning, four-piece rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1983. ... Blood Sugar Sex Magik (sometimes written BloodSugarSexMagik) is the fifth album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, released in September of 1991 and written and recorded at a mansion in Laurel Canyon, now owned by the albums producer Rick Rubin and known also as Damie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound... John Anthony Frusciante (IPA pronunciation: ) (born March 5, 1970) is the guitarist of the Californian band Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom he has performed on five studio recordings (Mothers Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium), three greatest hits packages (What Hits!?, Greatest... The White Stripes are an American minimalist rock duo from Detroit, composed of Jack White on guitar, piano, lead vocals and songwriting, and Meg White on drums, percussion and vocals. ... The White Stripes is the self-titled debut album by American rock band, The White Stripes, and was released in 1999 (see 1999 in music). ... Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground is a single by the White Stripes from their album White Blood Cells. ...

Songs

The entire collection, minus one song, is available on The Complete Recordings (1990, 1996)

Table of selected pistol and rifle cartridges by year. ... The Hellhounds are a fighting unit located in Northshield, they are known for their dominant and aggressive style of fighting, their use of period and modern melee tactics and their sense of honor on the field. ... I Believe Ill Dust My Broom Vocalion 03475 Dust My Broom is a blues standard originally recorded by Robert Johnson, the legendary Mississippi Delta blues singer and guiarist, on November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas. ... This article or section should be merged with End times and Last judgment The Last Judgement - Tympanum sculpture at the Abbey Church of Ste-Foy, Conques-en-Rouergue, France In Christian eschatology, the Last Judgement is the ethical-judicial trial, judgement, and punishment/reward of individual humans (assignment to heaven... Kind Hearted Woman Blues is a blues song by legendary old-time bluesmen Robert Johnson, and can be found on a number of his compilation albums, and on its original album, King of the Delta Blues (1937) It was covered by Eric Clapton on his 2004 album, Me and Mr. ... Love In Vain is a legendary blues song written by old-time bluesmen Robert Johnson, and can be found on a number of compilation albums of Johnson, and on its original album, King of the Delta Blues (1937). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Edison cylinder phonograph ca. ... Preacher is a colloquial term for a clergyman, in particular a local priest, pastor or Minister; one who preaches. ... Sweet Home Chicago is a popular blues standard in the twelve bar form. ... Hudson Terraplane logo. ... Theyre Red Hot is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. ... Traveling Riverside Blues is a blues song written and performed originally by legendary old-time bluesman Robert Johnson. ...

References

  1. ^ Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues, Elijah Wald, Amistad, 2004, ISBN 0-06-052423-5
  • Blues World - Booklet No.1 - Robert Johnson - Four Editions, First published 1967
  • Booklet accompanying the Complete Recordings box set, Stephen LaVere, Sony Music Entertainment, 1990
  • Love in Vain: A Vision of Robert Johnson, Alan Greenberg, Stanley Crouch, Martin Scorsese, 1994, ISBN 0-306-80557-X
  • Searching for Robert Johnson, Peter Guralnick , 1998, ISBN 0-452-27949-6
  • Robert Johnson: Lost and Found, Barry Lee Pearson, Bill McCulloch, 2003, ISBN 0-252-02835-X
  • Hellhound on My Trail: The Life of Robert Johnson, Bluesman Extraordinaire, Robert Wolf, 2004, ISBN 1-56846-146-1
  • Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture, Patricia R. Schroeder, 2004, ISBN 0-252-02915-1

1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... Stanley Crouch (born December 14, 1945, Los Angeles) is an American music critic, syndicated columnist, and novelist perhaps best known for his jazz criticism and his novel Dont the Moon Look Lonesome? // During the early 1970s, Crouch moved from California to New York City, where he lived along with... Martin Luciano Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an acclaimed American film director. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Films about Robert Johnson

  • Crossroads, 1986 which is loosely based on the theme of a blues artist selling his soul to the devil and, more specifically, about a young white blues guitarist's search for Johnson's 'missing' thirtieth song (there are only 29 individual songs in Johnson's recorded repertoire). Robert Johnson is played by Tim Russ, while Joe Seneca plays Willie Brown (a contemporary of Johnson's mentioned in the song Crossroads Blues).

Some scenes in the movie are meant to portray moments in Johnson´s career as flashbacks, e.g. a recording-session at the very start of the movie, and a portrayal of the "selling his soul to the devil"-event which is part of the legends about him) Crossroads is a 1986 cult film inspired by the legend of Robert Johnson. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. ...

  • The Search for Robert Johnson, 1992
  • Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? The Life and Music of Robert Johnson, 1997
  • Hellhounds On My Trail: The Afterlife of Robert Johnson (2000). Directed by Robert Mugge.

1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Robert Mugge (b. ...

Other

  • The song "The Wasteland" by Elton John mentions Robert Johnson in the chorus.
  • "Back to the Crossroads: The Roots of Robert Johnson," a CD from Yazoo records, includes many of the records Johnson himself heard and learned from.
  • Currently, a manga running in the Japanese magazine Afternoon called 俺と悪魔ブルーズ(Me and the Devil Blues) is clearly influenced by events of Johnson's life, and the protagonist is named "RJ". However, it is not attempting to be a biography.
  • The Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? contains a character named Tommy Johnson, an amalgam of Robert Johnson, the real-life Tommy Johnson and their contemporary Skip James.
  • The Sherman Alexie novel "Reservation Blues" has a fictional account of Robert Johnson faking his death and hiding out on an Indian reservation.
  • The webcomic Achewood has portrayed Robert Johnson as a resident of Hell, performing nightly in the Brookside Lounge of Hell's Best Western, despite its being closed. [5]
  • British rock band Thunder's eighth album (released October 2006) is entitled Robert Johnson's Tombstone as is the title track of the album.
  • The legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil is featured and portrayed in season 2 episode 8 of Supernatural, "Crossroad Blues."

The Waste Land is a 433-line poem by T. S. Eliot. ... Sir Elton Hercules[1] John, CBE[2] (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947) is an English pop/rock singer, composer and pianist. ... 2nd English edition of InuYasha Vol. ... Afternoon (アフタヌーン) is a Japanese manga magazine published by Kodansha. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, set in Mississippi during the Great Depression (specifically, 1937). ... Tommy Johnson (1896 – November 1, 1956) was an influential delta blues musician. ... Nehemiah Curtis Skip James (June 21, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. ... Sherman Alexie Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr. ... Achewood is an online comic strip created by Chris Onstad. ... Rock group (or later rock band) is a generic name to describe a group of musicians specializing in a particular form of electronically amplified music. ... Thunder are an English hard rock band, who originally formed in 1989 when Terraplane broke up, leaving lead singer Danny Bowes and guitarist/main songwriter Luke Morley to form a new band, namely Thunder. ... Supernatural is an American paranormal drama television series that debuted on September 13, 2005 on the WB Television Network, and is now part of The CWs lineup, where the second season premiered on September 28, 2006. ... Crossroad Blues is episode eight of the second season of the television series Supernatural. ...

External links

Blues | Blues genres
Jug band - Classic female blues - Country blues - Delta blues - Jump blues - Piano blues - Fife and drum blues
Jazz blues - Blues-rock - Soul blues- Punk blues
African blues - British blues - Chicago blues - Detroit blues - Kansas City blues - Louisiana blues - Memphis blues - Piedmont blues - St. Louis blues - Swamp blues - Texas blues - West Coast blues
Musicians

  Results from FactBites:
 
Robert Johnson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2482 words)
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) is among the most famous Delta Blues musicians and arguably the most influential.
Johnson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi in 1911.
Johnson is widely cited as "the greatest blues singer of all time" or even the most important musician of the 20th century, but many listeners are disappointed by their first encounter with his work.
Robert L. Johnson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (521 words)
Robert L. Johnson (born April 8, 1946) is the founder of Black Entertainment Television, and was its chairman and chief executive officer.
Johnson studied history at the University of Illinois and graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree.
Johnson worked at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Washington Urban League before becoming press secretary for Walter E. Fauntroy, who was the congressional delegate from the District of Columbia.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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