Robert Johnson, “the man who sold his soul”

TombstoneRobert Johnson

To the Devil. On the crossroads. Hopefully, this story is just the legend. Or is it. Does anyone have the right to make such soul crushing music without some secret pact with the Prince of Darkness? Nah, it can’t be truth. But that interpretation of the Faustian legend is so interesting and captivating that we will give it the benefit of doubt.

But who was that man? Who was the man who played the guitar like a man possessed and yet, his first instrument was a harmonica? The man who influenced every blues and rock musician who came after him; the womaniser, the man who, according to one legend, died from a poisonous whisky, given to him by the jealous husband. Who was he?

American blues singer-songwriter and musician. Among the greatest ones, by all means.

One of the greatest songs he ever wrote is “Love in Vain” and it was recorded on June 20th, 1937 but wasn’t released until 1939. This song about unrequited love in which he uses the departing train as a metaphor for his lost love has one of the most powerful lyrics that he had ever written. The guitar is subtle, and his vocal takes the lead.

“Love in Vain” was covered by many bands and musicians with “The Rolling Stones” and Eric Clapton being the most famous ones.

Director Martin Scorsese said: “The thing about Robert Johnson was that he only existed on his records. He was the pure legend.” If he ever existed in one particular record “Love in Vain” is the one.

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