Had he lived the patron saint of the blues, Robert Leroy Johnson, would be celebrating his 100th birthday on 8 May 2011.
Had he lived the patron saint of the blues, Robert Leroy Johnson, would be celebrating his 100th birthday on 8 May 2011. Legend has it that Johnson sold his soul to the devil 'Down at the crossroads' in exchange for his incredible guitar skills. His brilliant, eery blues recordings have inspired generations of guitarists ever since.
Johnson died in Greenwood Mississippi in 1938, after allegedly being poisoned by the jealous husband of an admirer, and the town is the centre of the anniversary events.
95 year-old Johnson contemporary Honeyboy Edwards (who played the same Greenwood club as Robert the night he died) will play a concert along with Keb' Mo', who portrayed Johnson in the 1997 film can You Hear the Wind Howl. Many other big blues acts are lined up to pay tribute over two nights of festivities.
There'll also be lecture from an expert panel discussing Robert's life and legacy and a new exhibit entitled Robert Johnson Exposed featuring artistic impressions of the bluesman.
The celebrations will be opened by the Robert Johnson Grandson band led by ordained minister Steven Johnson whose father, Claude, has been legally determined as the heir to the great bluesman's estate.