ROBERT JOHNSON.
1911 - 1938.


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Robert Johnson is born on the 8th May 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, the son of Julia Ann Majors and Noah Johnson.

Julia takes Robert with her when she leaves Mississippi in 1914, to rejoin her husband Charles Dodds in Memphis.

Robert travels with his mother and his father-in-law to Robinsonville in 1918, a town about 25 miles from Memphis.

Robert leaves school in 1927.

By 1929 Robert is learning to play the guitar under the tutelage of Son House. He also marries Virginia Travis.

Virginia Johnson dies in childbirth in 1930, the baby also dies. A few months later Robert begins playing with Willie Brown.

In 1931 Robert marries Callatta 'Callie' Craft.

Robert befriends bluesman Ike Zinnerman in 1932, who has learned guitar while sitting on top of tomestones.

His reputation is growing throughout Mississippi in 1933.

In Helena, Arkansas, in 1934 bluesmen such as Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Nighthawks, Howlin' Wolf and Memphis Slim are impressed by Robert's playing.

In November 1936, Robert makes his first ever recordings, for the American Record Company (Vocalion), and the following year at his second recording session he cuts songs that will become classics such as 'I'm a Steady Rollin' Man', 'Stop Breakin' Down Blues' and 'Me and the Devil Blues'.

Robert Johnson dies on 16 August 1938 at Greenwood, Mississippi, after having been poisoned.

In 1941 Robert's stepson, Robert 'Junior' Lockwood, makes his first recording, 'Take a Little Walk With Me'.

Elmore James keeps the spirit of Robert Johnson alive in 1951 with his recording of 'Dust My Broom'.

The first ever LP collection of Johnson's work is issued in 1962, King of the Delta Blues Singers.

More up-to-dated musicians influenced by Robert are Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.

The Rolling Stones pay homage to Robert Johnson in 1969 by recording his composition 'Love in Vain' for their Let It Bleed album.

The Complete Recordings, the first official collection of all Johnson's songs is released on CD by CBS in 1990, Lyrics.


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