Excerpt From Stephen Davis “Hammer of the Gods.”
“In the delta of the Mississippi River, where Robert Johnson was born, they said that if an aspiring bluesmen waited by the side of a deserted crossroads in the dark of a moonless night, then the Devil himself might come and tune his guitar, sealing a pact for the bluesmen’s soul and guaranteeing a lifetime of easy money, women, and fame. They said that Robert Johnson must have waited by the crossroads and gotten his guitar fine-tuned.
Robert Johnson was a Mississippi blues singer and songwriter, who according to legend, sold his soul to Satan “at the crossroads” in exchange for his remarkable talent on the guitar.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Robert Johnson started playing blues guitar in the late 1920s. His wife and child died in childbirth around 1930 and he is said to have devoted himself to the guitar. Part of the crossroads story comes from a report that he dropped out of sight for a while in the early 1930s and returned a much-improved guitarist.
In 1936-37 he recorded at least 29 songs in Texas (San Antonio and Dallas), then returned to Mississippi to play and sing in clubs and bars. His mysterious death at the age of 27 added to the legend: He died in 1938, falling ill after playing a party and dying four days later.
At the stroke of midnight, he walked down to the windswept crossroads at the junction of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Reciting an ancient incantation, he called upon the Devil to make his deal. In exchange for Johnson’s immortal soul, the devil tuned his guitar, thereby giving him the abilities which he so desired. From then on, the young bluesman played his instrument with an unearthly style, his fingers dancing over the strings. His voice moaned and wailed, expressing the deepest sorrows of a condemned sinner.
Whatever the reason, Johnson died at the young age of twenty-seven (The 27 Club with members Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin) Down in the Delta Blues music that has influenced guitar players like Muddy Waters, and his songs have been covered by several rock stars, including Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones.
In 1986 Robert Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His songs include “Crossroad Blues,” “Me and the Devil Blues” and “Terraplane Blues.”
Because of the historical significance of “Cross Road Blues,” it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Robert Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938)
Historians and musicians all over the world are still are intrigued
by the legend of Robert’s deal with the devil came due and as evidence gave the fact that they had seen him on all fours, howling at the moon the night he died……
Undisputed facts about Johnson’s life are few and far between. More often than not, his legend has obscured the few grains of truth that can be discerned. According to the myth, the young bluesman desperately longed for fame and fortune. “
What is encrypted in the power of fame?
Do musicians and other artist go against everything they we are taught to reach that pinnacle of success?
We are closer to the spiritual world, and we are closer than we can ever could imagine.
Would you risk your intuition and mystical inner strength to reach that Millionaire status, given a chose?
Did Robert Johnson make a pact with the Devil?
Historians claimed that Robert could not play but a few chords if any, on the guitar until he came back from the Cross Roads.
The eerie tale is of course, that when he came back to play he played better than anyone else, that saw him playing a week before, and could not understand why? Robert ONLY played with his back turned away from his audience….
Here is the footage, and now you know the legend!
Was this story a myth, or a true deal with the devil? Would you make that deal to gain riches and fame?