If you know anything about Robert Johnson, it’s very likely it’s the story that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for his musical talent. Of course, the bluesman is also remembered as one who met a tragic end to his life when he was reportedly poisoned by the husband of one of his mistresses at the age of 27. However, the mythic tale surrounding his life is what has persisted.
With books, films, and documentaries about the life of the man who recorded 29 songs, “legend has it that Johnson took his guitar to the crossroads of Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi where the devil retuned his instrument in exchange for his soul. He returned with a formidable technique and a mastery of the blues,” writes The Guardian.
But did that really happen? Here’s what you should know about the blues legend who influenced great guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards: