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November 23, 1936: The Devil Gets His Due

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Born in 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, Robert Johnson was so good at playing the blues that some believed he made a deal with the Devil. His life was shrouded in mystery and folklore, contributing to the enigmatic aura surrounding him. Johnson is widely regarded as one of the most influential blues guitarists and singers of all time, known for his remarkable fingerpicking style and soulful, haunting vocals. On November 23, 1936, he recorded his first album.

Johnson’s musical journey began in the early 1930s when he started playing at local juke joints and street corners. Despite his relatively short career, he left an indelible mark on the blues genre. His recordings, including iconic tracks like “Cross Road Blues” and “Hellhound on My Trail,” showcased his extraordinary talent and emotional depth. Johnson’s guitar technique, characterized by intricate fingerpicking and slide guitar work, set a standard for future generations of blues musicians.

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding Robert Johnson is the legend of his supposed deal with the Devil at the crossroads. According to folklore, Johnson exchanged his soul for unparalleled musical abilities.

Tragically, Robert Johnson’s life was cut short at the age of 27, adding him to the infamous “27 Club” alongside other musical legends. His death in 1938 remains shrouded in uncertainty, with theories ranging from poisoning to complications related to syphilis. Despite the brevity of his career, Johnson’s impact on blues and subsequent genres like rock ‘n’ roll is immeasurable, making him a cornerstone of American musical history.

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