Robert Johnson is considered to be one of the most influential Blues musicians ever. His short recording career between 1936 and 1937, created landmark pieces of music, that went on to inspire generations of artists. The issue of his recordings on the 1961 album King of the Delta Blues Singers, brought Johnson to the world, and cemented his place in the pantheon of the 20th Century’s most influential musicians. Johnson died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27. (Yup, he was one of the early members of the 27 Club.) It’s thought that his guitar playing went from just average to phenomenal in a very short period of time, which lead to the myth of Johnson's supposed deal with the Devil at the ‘crossroads’. A story that has gone done in music folklore and been picked-up and used numerous times since.
The story goes that Johnson went down to the (now legendary) Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. There he met the Devil (disguised as a big black man), and how the Devil tuned Johnson’s guitar, played a few tunes and handed it back to him. In effect making pact Faustian style pact. It is believed that Johnson’s early death, and the rediscovery of his recordings many years later lead the creation and spread of the legend.
In 1936 Johnson recorded the song Cross Road Blues, otherwise known as "Crossroads". It's likely that this powerful piece of Delta Blues, and it's name added to the myth.
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The 1986 movie Crossroads borrowed the Johnson's legend, to tell the story of a young musician who breaks free from his classical training to seek the blues, inspired by the myth of of Johnson and wanting to seek out a famed "missing song". Starring Ralph Macchio in the lead role, on his journey he comes across Willie "Blind Dog Fulton Smoke House" Brown, based on a real friend of Robert Johnson. On their journey of discovery they eventually come to the Crossroads, Where Willie reveals the packed both him and Johnson made with the Devil.