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Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
01-12-2014, 11:14 AM
Post: #1
Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Quote:I went to the crossroad
Fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad
Fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above "Have mercy now,
Save poor Bob, if you please"


"Crossroad Blues" - ROBERT JOHNSON


[Image: 8fb5eadbc77ea1fafbe4c011b5aa54c2757836dc]


[Image: robert-johnson.gif]





The composition in question is "Crossroads", written by Robert Johnson. This haunting piece is one of the best-known examples of the Delta Blues and it has subsequently been re-recorded by hundreds of artists. But in a strange twist of fate, some would say that the song is cursed.

Although Johnson's recording career was very brief, his life story has taken on mythical proportions in the years since his death. In rural folklore, the intersection of two roads was often regarded as an evil place, the site of black magic. This notion dated back to early mythology in Africa and Europe. As these pagan cultures were forcibly assimilated by Christian society, some of their original beliefs were blended with the new religion. So according to the legend, Johnson went down to the crossroads and made a pact with Satan. The devil promised to fulfill his dreams, thus Johnson traded his eternal soul for his extraordinary talents. Of course, the devil wouldn't allow him to enjoy his success and the lord of the underworld soon claimed his prize. Even though Johnson's musical legacy would eventually earn worldwide acclaim, he never had a chance to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

But while the legend of Robert Johnson is interesting enough on its own, there is much more to the story of "Crossroads". In addition to the bluesman's untimely death, there have been a string of tragedies associated with musicians who have performed the song over the years. Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band have all experienced the loss of group members or loved ones.

Undisputed facts about Johnson's life are few and far between. More often than not, his legend has obscured the few grains of truth which can be discerned. According to the myth, the young bluesman desperately longed for fame and fortune. Johnson was not satisified with his own musical abilities and felt that he needed more talent to achieve success. He was already bitter toward his creator, blaming God for the death of his beloved wife and unborn child. Despondent and irrational, he made a momentous decision. At the stroke of midnight, he walked down to the windswept crossroads at the junction of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, MS. Reciting an ancient incantation, he called upon Satan himself to rise from the fires of Hell. 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.

Without the solid foundation of the blues, rock and roll would probably not exist. During the decades since his death, Robert Johnson's music has influenced countless other artists. In the most immediate sense, his style was adopted and imitated by the blues musicians who followed in his footsteps. Then in turn, these artists had an effect on subsequent generations.

His legacy can be heard in a broad spectrum of music, from jazz to R & B to rock. And in recent years, he has finally begun to receive the credit he so richly deserves. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the forefathers of rock music. Further recognition came when the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp in his honor on September 17, 1994. It is impossible to calculate the full impact of Johnson's music, as the ripple effect continues to spread outwards. But clearly the lonely bluesman from Mississippi has achieved the fame which he craved during his short life.


Quote: Early this mornin'
When you knocked upon my door
Early this mornin', ooh
When you knocked upon my door
And I said, "Hello Satan,
I believe it's time to go."


"Me And The Devil Blues" - ROBERT JOHNSON












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01-12-2014, 11:29 AM
Post: #2
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Quote:






Eric Clapton's Son Killed in a 49-Story Fall

Published: March 21, 1991




The 4 1/2-year-old son of the rock guitarist Eric Clapton was killed yesterday morning when he fell out an open bedroom window on the 53d floor of a Manhattan apartment building.

The boy, Conor, who was dressed in red pajamas and slippers, landed on the roof of a four-story building next to Galleria Condominiums, a 57-story building where the boy was staying with his mother, the police said.

They said the window, about 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, was left open after it was cleaned by a housekeeper. The boy, who was not in the room during the cleaning, darted past the housekeeper and somehow fell out the window, which was not protected by a window guard, the police said.

"At this point it seems as if this was a tragic accident," said a police spokesman, Capt. Stephen Davis.

Besides the housekeeper, the boy's mother, Lori Del Santo, an Italian television actress, was in the duplex with a maid and a friend, the police said.



Quote:




Lynyrd Skynyrd had established themselves as one of the most successful rock bands of the ’70s by the time they released ‘Street Survivors‘ in October of 1977. The group’s career would come to a tragic halt just three days later, on Oct. 20, 1977, when their twin engine plane went down in a swamp in Gillsburg, Miss., killing three of the band members, a tour manager and both pilots on impact.




Quote:




Duane Allman was a keen motorcyclist and owned a Harley Davidson Sportster on which he was travelling at high speed on October 29, 1971 when he reportedly struck a truck and sustained serious injuries from which he died shortly afterwards.


The second tragedy to affect the band, who had decided to continue after Duane's death, was the death on November 11, 1972, of bassist Berry Oakley in extraordinarily similar circumstances to those of Duane's sad demise. Berry died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in a location very close to, but not as has often been reported, the same as that where Duane was killed. He was the same age as Duane when he died, a mere 24 years.


The third part in the triple tragedy concerned Berry's replacement, bassist Lamar Williams. Lamar stayed with the band until it ceased to function in 1976, (although it subsequently reformed and is still active to this day), and died from lung cancer in 1981 at the age of only 34.

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01-12-2014, 11:39 AM
Post: #3
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Hollywood tried to tell the story in the 1986 movie 'Crossroads', but of course they had to show a white boy trying to do what Johnson couldn't.

[Image: e61789237858f9daa816a421e091e1ca.jpg]





And there are some decent documenatries on the legend.










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01-12-2014, 12:52 PM
Post: #4
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
ALways thought "satan" was a metaphor for manager or producer and "selling your soul" was the music.

Will have a watch of the documentary Redneck. I enjoy his music on occasion and the story behind the man can only enhance it
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01-12-2014, 01:18 PM
Post: #5
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
(01-12-2014 12:52 PM)what Wrote:  ALways thought "satan" was a metaphor for manager or producer and "selling your soul" was the music.

Will have a watch of the documentary Redneck. I enjoy his music on occasion and the story behind the man can only enhance it



Good interpretation man, makes sense. I've been intrigued by the story for a long time, although I don't believe that it should be taken literally. I do like the mythology that surrounds the man these days though.

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01-12-2014, 04:06 PM
Post: #6
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Thanks Redneck.

There may be some truth to this story.

One of his contemporaries told a story about how bad Robert Johnson was the first time he and another blues player saw him perform.

Six months later...they saw him again and couldn't believe what they were hearing.

A completely different player from what they had seen just a short time before.

If I can find the story somewhere, I'll post it.
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01-12-2014, 04:15 PM
Post: #7
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Eric Clapton definitely made a deal with the Devil somewhere along the way.

There is no other rational explanation for his fame and success.
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01-12-2014, 05:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
My favorite version.



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01-13-2014, 07:19 AM
Post: #9
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Didn't this mythology start with Niccolò Paganini
the 18th century violinist, guitar player, magician and virgin slayer?
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01-13-2014, 07:32 AM
Post: #10
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
(01-12-2014 04:06 PM)THE_DEAN Wrote:  Thanks Redneck.

There may be some truth to this story.

One of his contemporaries told a story about how bad Robert Johnson was the first time he and another blues player saw him perform.

Six months later...they saw him again and couldn't believe what they were hearing.

A completely different player from what they had seen just a short time before.

If I can find the story somewhere, I'll post it.
He used to follow guys like Sun House around and wanted to play with them...He didn't really know how to play though.
I think he then went to Nashville for a year found a teacher and practiced fanatically.
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01-13-2014, 08:42 AM
Post: #11
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Class is in session with the Professor!
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03-08-2014, 08:13 AM
Post: #12
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
(01-12-2014 04:15 PM)THE_DEAN Wrote:  Eric Clapton definitely made a deal with the Devil somewhere along the way.

There is no other rational explanation for his fame and success.


Smile

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03-08-2014, 08:24 AM
Post: #13
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
(03-08-2014 08:13 AM)Redneck Wrote:  
(01-12-2014 04:15 PM)THE_DEAN Wrote:  Eric Clapton definitely made a deal with the Devil somewhere along the way.

There is no other rational explanation for his fame and success.


Smile

Well, JJ Cale helped!
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10-21-2019, 11:24 AM
Post: #14
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
thread cited in the bibliography of a book haha

https://www.amazon.com/iDisrupted-Michae...178507072X
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10-21-2019, 02:50 PM
Post: #15
RE: Robert Johnson and the Crossroads Curse
Netflix has released a new documentary on this very topic.






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