Robert Johnson

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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
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, 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.
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, 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
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, 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).

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Johnson, Robert

(1911–38) musician; born in Hazelhurst, Miss. A singer-guitarist, he was the most celebrated and legendary of the Mississippi Delta bluesmen. An itinerant performer, he played on street corners and in juke joints throughout the Deep South before he was poisoned to death at the age of 27. In 1936–37, he recorded 29 songs in Dallas and San Antonio, most of which are staples of the blues and rock repertoires. Johnson's musical brilliance and tormented sensibility were ascribed to his Faustian bargain with the devil, a myth that remains at the heart of the blues. In 1990, a retrospective collection of Johnson's recordings became a million-selling album. The movie Crossroads is one of numerous attempts at elucidating his obscure life.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Directed by Edward Dmytryk, written by Stanley Roberts from the novel by Herman Wouk, starring Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, Robert Francis, May Wynn, Fred MacMurray, 1954, 125 minutes, color, not rated.
Adams of Brimfield and Joyce Piette and her husband Rodney of Ellicott City, MD; three brothers, Charles Johnson, Robert Johnson and Eugene Johnson; one sister, Dolores Hedges; four grandchildren, Cory Piette and his fiance Amy, Scott Bratton, Eric Bratton and his fiance Erin and Christopher Bratton; five great-grandchildren, Madelyn, Hayden, Landon, Dylan and Alexandra and many nieces and nephews.
Neither McCoy, Walsh, Richard Johnson, Robert Thornton, Paul Nicholls, Alan King, David Pipe nor Philip Hobbs did The ride by RJ Jones at Exeter prompted thoughts of Terry-Thomas actually talk to me, but they might have done if I'd asked.
Additionally, Burson has been privileged to perform under the direction of many notable choreographers including Jacqueline Colledge, Heather Gray, Lorin Johnson, Robert Kelley, Eva Stone, and others.
Park is Rangers' sixth signing of the summer, joining Ryan Nelsen, Andrew Johnson, Robert Green, Samba Diakite and former Old Trafford team-mate Fabio - on loan at Loftus Road - as Hughes attempts to avoid a repeat of last season's struggles.
Park is Rangers' sixth signing of the summer, joining Ryan Nelsen, Andrew Johnson, Robert Green, Samba Diakite and former Old Trafford team-mate Fabio at Loftus Road as Hughes attempts to avoid a repeat of last season's struggles.
Johnson, Robert. The Afghan Way of War: How and Why They Fight.
Ken Garff is also excited to have Charlie Johnson, Robert Fotheringham, and Michael Creer, Executive Director of Legal and Human Resources, on our Board of Directors.
Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Robert Green and Michael Carrick remain contenders.
Series books examine instruments from the banjo and the theremin to the guitar in Baroque Mexico, and people from John Philip Sousa, Marian McPartland, Fritz Reiner, Fred Waring, Charles Ives, and Charles Seeger to Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Hazel Dickens, Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, Fiddlin' John Carson, Aunt Molly Jackson, Robert Johnson, Robert Winslow Gordon, Sarah Gertrude Knott, Tito Puente, and Elvis.
Groomsmen were David Carver Arant, Richard Cleve Butler, Jonathan Allen Johnson, Robert Casey Plummer, and Christopher Landon Stroud.