Song of the Day: Robert Johnson, “Crossroads”

Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson was born on this day in 1911. He was a huge influence on most of the Delta blues musicians, most notably Muddy Waters, who did several of Johnson’s songs over the years. He also influenced a generation o British blues musicians, including Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who named their band The Rolling Stones after one of Johnson’s songs. "Crossroads," also called "Crossroad" and "Cross Road Blues," has been covered by countless musicians over the years.

27 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Robert Johnson, “Crossroads”

  1. It’s really quite remarkable what impact Robert Johnson had, especially considering his recording career only lasted seven months or so. I would also say Clapton’s arrangement of “Crossroads” for Cream’s “Wheels of Fire” is one of the best things he’s ever done!

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      1. I pulled it up and kept going. That Fillmore live set was really cool, except I think I would have been okay with a 5- or 6-minute version of “Toad” rather than 16 minutes plus!

        I mean, don’t get me wrong, Ginger Baker was an incredible drummer, but listening to a drum solo for more than 10 minutes is a bit heavy. I guess Eric and Bruce could have told him, but he probably Ginger probably would have used his drum sticks on them!😆

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    1. Muddy took a lot of it from songs that Johnson wrote, specifically “Catfish Blues” and “Two Trains Running.” He was big on reusing other people’s compositions…

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  2. I love this version but I have to say…when I hear this title…the Cream version always comes to mind.
    Johnson influenced so many artists.

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    1. A lot of Muddy Waters’s early material was drawn from Robert Johnson. He did a set of recordings of them for the Library of Congress, and “borrowed” heavily from them for his own songs… Given the number of people influenced by him, yes, Robert got into a lot of people’s ears….

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  3. Is rhe Leadbelly? He led quite the life. I love this song. Have you ever seen the film “Crossroads”? It’s quite good.

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    1. I’m pretty sure you mean the movie with Ralph Macchio, and yes, we’ve seen it. Leadbelly’s another guy; he wrote “Midnight Special” and “Black Betty,” among others.

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  4. My son is a guitarist. Isn’t he the guy who supposedly “sold his soul” to the devil at the “crossroads?” Or is that another guy?

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