Robert Johnson Major Influences

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Robert Johnson is often referred to as the “king of delta blues.” He was a unique guitarist and delta blues singer from Mississippi. Many aspects of his life remain undocumented, such as his birth, cause of death, and even how he came to be famously known. He managed to record 29 songs during his short life, many of which were inspired by his suffering during the Great Depression in the 1930s. These personable experiences were relatable to many people worldwide and Johnson’s songs touched the hearts of many. Even with his few recorded songs he became a great influence to many famous musicians, including: Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Courtney). Johnson’s life has peaked the curiosity of many and triggered much gossip and legend – when there are lack of facts, people start to invent them. It was said that Johnson sold…show more content…
He demonstrates perhaps some of the most fantastic utilization of vocal microtonality among musicians. He manages to show complete vocal control as he ranges from a high falsetto on some notes all the way down to a low hum, such as when he sings the note “yeooee” before a verse. He adds rough, vibrant grunts to surprise his audience and sings with such emotion and expression that it is impossible not to listen. As for the lyrics themselves, Johnson is also known for his creative and unique song writing skills. The song has been renowned to perpetuate the myth of Johnson selling his soul for his musical ability. Though the lyrics do not reference Satan specifically, they do hint at some supernatural imagery. The symbolic “falling on his knees” is his prayer to God to have mercy on him for his sinful act, which the legend suggests is his act of selling his soul to the devil. Johnson’s lyrics and vocals in “Crossroad Blues” illustrate his deep charismatic emotion and passion as a
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