Robert Johnson

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Early Influence

Inducted in: 1986

Inducted by: Robert Palmer (writer)

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1988 (ranked #1 in the Influences - Pre-Rock Era category) .

Essential Albums (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3Amazon CD
King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961)

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Cross Road Blues (1937)
Love In Vain (1937)
Hellhound on My Trail (1937)

Robert Johnson @ Wikipedia

Robert Johnson Videos


9 comments so far (post your own)

No comments??? How can this be a site that celebrates the greatest artists in the history of rock n roll and nobody wants to pay tribute to the man who started it all???

Posted by Chris on Monday, 02.22.10 @ 16:31pm

This site usually involves more about arguing who should and shouldn't be. Since Robert's already in, there's really little to debate.

Posted by Philip on Monday, 02.22.10 @ 17:05pm

Yeah I get that, but there's like 80 comments for Falco and none for Robert Johnson!!! I mean, is Falco really arguable???

Posted by Chris on Monday, 02.22.10 @ 19:57pm

Chris...look at it this way, the artists with the most comments usually are the ones with the most arguments as to whether they belong in the HoF or not...

Posted by Gitarzan on Monday, 02.22.10 @ 20:14pm

That certainly applies in most cases. Like Robert Johnson, both Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones for example have hardly any comments.

Posted by Keebord on Tuesday, 02.23.10 @ 06:52am

The Beatles however have a fair number of comments. So I guess that rule doesn't always apply

Posted by The Drummer on Tuesday, 02.23.10 @ 06:53am

Robert Johnson is an almost mythic singer and songwirter. Althrough he left a small number of songs behind for us to enjoy, his influence carried on into rock music where people like The Rolling Stones and Cream played his songs. He was one of the greatest blues players ever to live and the music that he worte continues to inspire us even today.

Posted by Andrew Miller on Tuesday, 10.9.12 @ 14:24pm

I think it's fair that Robert Johnson was an influence on musicians but not on the musical art form itself and I've often seen him being referred to as an influence on rock and roll and its subgenres and I don't think that's real accurate. That being said, he has been pushed to mythology, some question if it's actually authentic but I guess that's up to the listener. I liked his music though but I never really considered it revolutionary. *shrug*

Posted by Tim on Tuesday, 10.9.12 @ 15:20pm

If the blues have a truly mythic figure, it would be Robert Johnson whose story hangs over the blues much like Charlie Parker does over jazz or Hank Williams does over country. Robert Johnson stands at the crossroads of American music, so much that a legend tells that he stood at a Mississippi crossroads and sold his soul to the devil for guitar prowess. He was the first modern blues singer evolving the blues of the Mississippi Delta.

Robert was also a songwriter of great depth and a guitar player who commanded attention, he produced some of the best blues music ever. Among his admirers were none other then Keith Richards who said "When I first listened to him, I throught I was hearing two guitars, and it took me a while to realize he was doing it himself."

Of course, the legend Johnson left behind was fortified by the fact that he left a small number of recordings which remain the apex of the blues. Standards like "Crossroads", "Love In Vain" and "Stop Breakin' Down" haven't only entered the blues, but have also crossed over into rock and roll as artists from The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin to Steve Miller have covered these songs.

While music historians tend to downplay his skills, Robert remains a powerful force to be reckoned with. Doomed, haunted, driven by demons, he died at a young age, all of these things added up in making him a blues legend.

In my mind, Eric Clapton is the man who Robert Johnson influenced in terms of guitar playing. Clapton even said "Robert Johnson in my opinion is the most important blues singer ever to live. I've never found anything more deeply soulful then the music of Robert Johnson. His music remains the most powerful thing that you can find in the human voice."

Posted by Andrew on Thursday, 05.23.13 @ 12:53pm

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