Robert Johnson, legendary blues musician who influenced Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones, and thus, everyone else, was born today in 1911 (or close to today). Hazlehurst, Mississippi was his birthplace but what about the rumor and the crossroads?
Most people go to the junction of Highway 61 and Highway 49 and have their photograph taken. The current crossroads of the two highways is at least half a mile from the one that would have existed in Johnson’s lifetime.
Johnson’s first release was “Terraplane Blues” with b side “Kind Hearted Woman Blues.” Johnson’s sales were not prolific they were clearly good enough for Johnson to be summoned back for some more recording.
Some, at the time, believed he was poisoned. People thought Johnson slept with a bar owner’s wife and the husband took revenge. However, Johnson may have been born with congenital syphilis. According to a Doctor it is possible that he had an aneurysm caused by the syphilis and/or his love of drinking moonshine.
There are three headstones erected in separate cemeteries around Greenwood. Including one pay for by Sony/Columbia Records (after their release of Johnson’s collection). It’s in the shape of an obelisk. Upon it is carved the names of his songs. It was placed on the grounds in 1991.