The Blues Crossroads

Music Cross Road Blues Robert Johnson (morceau - 1937)
The meeting between Robert Johnson, a modest Delta musician, and the Devil himself, at a crossroads near Clarksdale, Mississippi, is a variation on the Faustian myth that popular culture quickly seized upon.
The Blues Crossroads
"'The Crossroads'" by joseph a is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“You may bury my body, woooo. Down by the highway side. So my old evil spirit. Can get a Greyhound bus and ride.”

Robert Johnson

Robert Leroy Johnson was born on May 8, 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Coming from a poor family, he soon saw an escape in music. It was in the late 1920s that he took up the guitar. It is also at this time that his path crosses that of Willie Brown and Charley Patton with whom he becomes friends. Another blues guitarist, Son House, tried to dissuade him from continuing in this direction because of his obvious lack of talent. Settled in Robinsonville, Robert Johnson decided to take a trip to his hometown. Two years later, he found Son House. The latter was then impressed by the spectacular progress of the musician, considering him even a better guitarist than himself. It is then that the young man tells him his story: one evening, in the vicinity of Clarksdale in what will become the “Blues Crossroads”, while he was walking, Robert Johnson made the meeting of a mysterious man all dressed in black. Noticing that the air had cooled considerably since the arrival of this disturbing character, he saw him take his guitar to tune it before playing a few notes with incredible virtuosity. It became obvious to many that the musician had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for an unparalleled talent, thanks to which he soon made his mark by recording 29 songs. His death on August 16, 1938, under mysterious circumstances, only reinforced his myth. However, he is suspected of having “stolen” this story from Tommy Johnson, another famous bluesman.


Robert Johnson died at the age of 27. He was the first member of the infamous 27 Club, which also included Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

The Blues Crossroads

In the great fresco of the Delta Blues, Clarksdale tells a tumultuous story to the sound of melancholic and embodied notes.

Founded by a certain John Clark in 1848, Clarksdale quickly became an important site in the heart of the so-called Cotton Belt. The abolition of slavery in 1863 and the end of the Civil War in 1865 transformed the town in a major way. Later, in the early 1950s, Clarksdale played a major role in the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. made a stop here on May 29, 1958. Certainly popular for the legendary crossing of Robert Johnson, the city is also known to have seen the birth of John Lee Hooker, and Sam Cooke. Muddy Waters, as for him, spent a part of his childhood there.

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Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.

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By Gilles Rolland

Friday, March 4, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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