Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson's
... Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson's
... Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson | Robert Johnson's
...Robert JohnsonThis simple question began a 10 year legal battle that ended with the music of the most influential blues musician, Robert Johnson, back in the hands of his lawful heir, his son, Claud.
...Robert Johnson, "King of the Delta Blues Singers", was born in Hazlehurst, MS in Copiah County, on May 8, 1911.
Crystal Springs, MS is the sister city and host of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation Spring Festival which commemorates the birth of the Mississippi blues legend.Robert
mother did not stay long in Hazlehurst.After working as migrant labor, his
mother moved the family to Memphis where he
lived for several years.
Early in life Robert
developed an interest in music.He
played Jews Harp and harmonica for the next few years until he
became interested in guitar in the 1920's.Robert
was a good looking boy and he
became very popular with the girls.Eventually he
became serious and married a young Virginia Travis in 1929.She
and Robert's first child died during childbirth in 1930.After this early tragic
became absorbed in his
While living in Robinsonville, Robert
met other blues singers who influenced his
Bluesman and preacher Son House particularly influenced Robert
'raw and intensely pure emotional music.Robert
went back to his
birthplace Hazlehurst searching for his
real father, and became more serious about his
music.Though during the depression, there was ample work and cash being made from the railroad and WPA highways being built, enough for people to live and have a good time.Bluesman Ike Zinnerman, became Robert
's coach and mentor, and began to teach Robert.
Robert's understanding of women deepened and he
began to understand that they could provide everything he
met a kind and loving woman more than 10 years his
senior with three small children.Robert
and Calletta Craft were married her
totally loved and took care of Robert
wasn't particularly respected at the time because he
was not a hard laborer like many people at the time, his
work seemed too easy to many people.He
had beautiful hands, wavy hair and looked younger than his
age.No one knew he
was married, and thought he
was being kept by an older woman.
This trip to Mississippi in the 30's was really important to Robert
.During this stay, Johnson's personality developed into the man he
would be.Also of great importance was the musical talent and ability that blossomed while he
was in Hazlehurst.He
would spend time alone practicing songs until they were just as he
liked them.When he
felt ready for more learning, he
packed up his
family and moved to the Delta.
returned to Robinsonville, he
had surpassed his
friends Son House and Willie Brown.He
played in bars and on street corners for a new months and then would move on.Robert
began to spend time on the Arkansas side of the river, across the river from Memphis in a town called Helena.All the great musicians of that time passed through Helena and west Helena, and many were influenced by Robert
There was a special young man to whom Robert
took a liking named Robert Lockwood, Jr.
lived with young Robert's mother, Estella Coleman.
tutored the young man who had an admirable musical talent.He
shared much of what he
knew with Robert Jr over the next four or five years.His
style took on many of the characteristics of Robert Johnson's
.Estella was good to Robert
took good care of him.Robert
stayed in Helena with Estella and Robert Jr, and from this base traveled to play all over Mississippi and the Arkansas Delta.
had the opportunity to meet and play with all the great blues contemporaries. Robert
musical style well.If he
felt someone wanted to be like him, play like him, he
would leave in the middle of a performance.He
loved travelling and seemed always on the move.Robert
could play most anything requested of him.He
had an ability to learn music and lyrics quickly, after only hearing a song once, he
could play and sing it, not only the blues
, but pop, ballads, and other styles as well.
By the mid-thirties, Johnson
was well known through the Delta, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and began to think about recording his
contacted H. C. Spier in Jackson, MS, who connected him with someone who could help him.In 1936 he
began to record his
songs, among them his
most popular Terraplane Blues.He
made eleven records which increased his
is one of the most admired and influential Delta blues artists despite his
short life and the small number of recordings that he
...Robert Johnson was a gifted singer, guitarist and songwriter whose life story is wrapped in mystery and legend.
Only two photographs are known to exist of him and he
recorded only 29 songs before his
death in 1938 at the age of 27.Many of his contemporaries believed that he met the Devil at a lonely crossroads at midnight and made a deal to sell his soul in return for becoming the greatest blues musician of all time.
More likely, he
was blessed with enormous talent and spent a lot of time learning from other blues masters and honing his
skills.He achieved some success and fame from recordings and performances during his life and was scheduled to perform at the first "Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall when he died.
burial place remains uncertain, it is generally accepted that his
death was not accidental.Johnson
was poisoned by a jealous husband (or girlfriend) while performing at a juke joint near Greenwood, Mississippi and died on August 16, 1938.He defined the 30s blues era, but died in 1938 at the young age of 27.
only wrote 29 songs, his
impact on the world of music has been incredible.