Me and the Devil Blues… by Allie Michelle

Me and the Devil Blues: The Legend of Robert Johnson

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Many consider Robert Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) one of the best and most influential musicians of all time. His music profoundly affected the foundation of Blues and Rock and Roll music influencing the likes of B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Fleetwood Mac. Eric Clapton considers him “the most important blues musician who ever lived.” Rolling Stone Magazine ranks Johnson as 5th in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 1986, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Robert Johnson as one of the forefathers of Rock music.

Prior to his success, Johnson desperately longed for notoriety and fame. According to accounts of his close friends, one evening at the stroke of midnight, Johnson walked down the crossroads at the junction of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Reciting an ancient prayer, he called upon Satan. In exchange for success, he agreed to sell his soul to the Devil. The Devil appeared as a large black man and tuned Johnson’s guitar. The Devil played a few songs before returning the instrument and granting Johnson mastery over the guitar.

Robert Johnson’s famous tale inspired the character from O Brother, Where Art Thou, Tommy Johnson who joins the Soggy Bottom Boys during the film. At one point, his character says, “I had to be up at that there crossroads last midnight, to sell my soul to the devil”.

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Robert Johnson went on to write and record Blues classics including “The Cross Roads Blues”, “Me and the Devil Blues”, and “Sweet Home Chicago”. He passed away on August 16, 1938 at age 27, making him a member of the “27-club” along with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. Facts surrounding his death remain inconclusive. Some believe he was poisoned by a lover’s jealous husband. Others claim he died from alcohol consumption. To this day, no one is sure exactly how he died or where he was buried as multiple gravesites bear his name. His untimely and controversial death only feed the rumors of his legendary transaction with Satan.

Me and the Devil Blues Lyrics

Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
And I said hello Satan
I believe it’s time to go

Me and the Devil
Was walkin’ side by side
Me and the Devil
Was walking side by side
And I’m going to beat my woman
‘Til I get satisfied

She said you don’t see why
That she would dog me ’round
Now baby you know you ain’t doin’ me right don’tcha
She say you don’t see why, whoooo
That she would dog me ’round
It must-a be that old evil spirit
So deep down in the ground
You may bury my body
Down by the highway side
Baby, I don’t care where you bury my body when I’m dead and gone
You may bury my body
Down by the highway side
So my old evil spirit
Can get a Greyhound bus and ride

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