May 8th, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Robert Johnson's birth. According to legend, Johnson met the Devil at the crossroads of Routes 61 and 49, and promised him his soul in exchange for supernatural abilities on the guitar. The Devil got the best of him, though--during his lifetime, Johnson never did achieve fame outside the Mississippi Delta. Yet 100 years later, Robert Johnson's name is virtually synonymous with the blues. In a cruel twist of fate, his publishers, who own the rights to the 29 songs he recorded during his lifetime, have since earned millions of dollars re-releasing his material. The moral of the story, of course, is that the Devil is evil (except for the D).
Take a listen to today's very special Blues Hour, which features Gary Walker, Bob Porter, and Michael Bourne discussing the life, legacy, and mythology of Robert Johnson.