Robert Johnson(redirected from Johnson, Robert)
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Johnson, Robert,1911–38, African-American blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter, b. Hazelhurst, Miss. A sharecropper's son, he grew up absorbing the music of Delta bluesmen, learning the harmonica and then mastering the guitar. Johnson left home around 1930 and for the rest of his life traveled the country, playing and singing at parties, juke joints, barrelhouses, and other venues. His reedy voice and virtuoso guitar technique combined in a classic blues sound, plaintive and lonely. The vagaries of love and evil are the themes of many of the songs he sang, whether written by others or himself, e.g., "Terraplane Blues" and "Hellhound on My Trail." In San Antonio (1936) and Dallas (1937) he recorded 29 blues songs, but a year later he was poisoned by a jealous husband. Though all that remains of his legendary work are those Texas recordings, Johnson's influence has been profound, on later blues and other musicians, some of whom, e.g., the Rolling StonesRolling Stones,
English rock music group that rose to prominence in the mid-1960s and continues to exert great influence. Members have included singer Mick Jagger (Michael Phillip Jagger), 1943–; guitarists Brian Jones
..... Click the link for more information. , Eric ClaptonClapton, Eric Patrick,
1945–, British guitarist, singer, and songwriter, b. Ripley, Surrey, England. A seminal figure in rock music, he is noted especially for his virtuoso guitar playing, whose style is based on American blues as played by "T-Bone" Walker, B. B.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Bob DylanDylan, Bob
, 1941–, American singer and composer, b. Duluth, Minn., as Robert Zimmerman. Dylan learned guitar at the age of 10 and autoharp and harmonica at 15. After a rebellious youth, he moved to New York City in 1960 and in the early years of the decade began playing
..... Click the link for more information. , have recorded his songs.
See his lyrics ed. by B. Groom and B. Yates (1969); biographies by P. Guralnick (1989), S. Calt (2001), and B. L. Pearson and B. McCulloch (2003); P. R. Schroeder, Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture (2004), and E. Wald, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues (2004).