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[[quoteright:330:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Robert_Johnson2_1186.jpg]]

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[[quoteright:330:https://static.[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Robert_Johnson2_1186.jpg]]
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[[caption-width-right:350:One of two verified photographs of the bluesman.]]


* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years--such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely; he had a high school-level education and some of his other songs display some knowledge of geography); that he was actually referring to Port Chicago or Chicago Park, two actual small towns in California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song has an UnreliableNarrator, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.

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* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years--such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely; he had a high school-level education and some of his other songs display some knowledge of geography); that he was actually referring to Port Chicago or Chicago Park, two actual small towns in California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song has an UnreliableNarrator, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about. Cover versions generally change the line to something like "back to that same old place."


* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of Port Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.

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* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such years--such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical unlikely; he had a high school-level education and some of his other songs display some knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); of geography); that he was actually referring to the Port Chicago or Chicago Park, two actual small town of Port Chicago, towns in California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, has an UnreliableNarrator, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.


* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of ‘’Port’’ Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.

to:

* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of ‘’Port’’ Port Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.


* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of “”Port”” Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.

to:

* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of “”Port”” ‘’Port’’ Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.

Added DiffLines:

* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Notoriously, “Sweet Home Chicago” contains a line which seems to claim that Chicago is in California (“baby don’t you want to go/back to the land of California/to my sweet home, Chicago”). Various explanations have been suggested for this over the years- such as that Johnson genuinely thought this was the case (which seems unlikely, given the geographical knowledge he displays in other songs’ lyrics); that he was actually referring to the small town of “”Port”” Chicago, California; that the song describes a cross-country road trip, of which California and Chicago are two separate destinations along the way; or that the song is meant to be sung by a deceitful character, who is trying to lure a woman to come with him to his supposed hometown of Chicago, which he accidentally reveals himself to know nothing about.


* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': In Luke McGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson was an undead crimefighter alongside the [[CelebritiesHangOutInHeaven fellow members of the Club he founded]]. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.

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* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': In Luke McGarry's [=McGarry's=] "27 Club" series, Johnson was an undead crimefighter alongside the [[CelebritiesHangOutInHeaven fellow members of the Club he founded]]. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.
{{CoolAndUnusualPunishment}}s.


The most commonly accepted version of his death comes from his close friend and "chitlin circuit" touring partner Sonny Boy Williamson II, who stated that Robert was flirting with the wife of the man who owned the venue where they were performing. The owner supposedly sent Robert an open bottle of whiskey that Sonny Boy prevented him from drinking, saying "Man, don't never drink from an open bottle. You don't know ''what'' could be in it." Robert is said to have retorted [[TemptingFate "Man, don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand."]] A second bottle was sent over, and Robert began drinking it. He became seriously ill soon afterwards and was bedridden for three days in severe pain before finally dying on August 16, 1938. He thereby became one of the first of many notable musicians to die at the age of 27. Some people believe this is a {{curse}}, as Music/BrianJones, Music/JimiHendrix, Music/JanisJoplin, [[Music/TheDoors Jim Morrison]], Music/KurtCobain and Music/AmyWinehouse (among others) all died at that age.

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The most commonly accepted version of his death comes from his close friend and "chitlin circuit" touring partner Sonny Boy Williamson II, who stated that Robert was flirting with the wife of the man who owned the venue where they were performing. The owner supposedly sent Robert an open bottle of whiskey that Sonny Boy prevented him from drinking, saying "Man, don't never drink from an open bottle. You don't know ''what'' could be in it." Robert is said to have retorted [[TemptingFate "Man, don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand."]] A second bottle was sent over, and Robert began drinking it. He became seriously ill soon afterwards and was bedridden for three days in severe pain before finally dying on August 16, 1938. Researchers have confirmed the basics of this account, suggesting that the husband only spiked the drink with the intent to scare Johnson, but the drug ended up aggravating an ulcer that Johnson had recently been diagnosed with.

He thereby became one of the first of many notable musicians to die at the age of 27. Some people believe this is a {{curse}}, as Music/BrianJones, Music/JimiHendrix, Music/JanisJoplin, [[Music/TheDoors Jim Morrison]], Music/KurtCobain and Music/AmyWinehouse (among others) all died at that age.


Much of his life is ShroudedInMyth. When he was first rediscovered in the 1960's after the release of the compilation album ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'', many things about the man himself were completely unknown. Since then, thanks to the research of scholars like Elijah Wald, his life and career have been pieced together fairly well. He went through the usual childhood that an African-American in the South went through in the Jim Crow era, though, contrary to the image of him as a Mississippi backwoods figure, he spent a fair amount of his youth in Memphis. He was married and his wife died a few months later. To make ends meet during TheGreatDepression, he became a traveling musician, performing in cafés and other venues throughout the region. Signed to a contract by the American Record Company, he recorded 29 songs over two different sessions held in Texas (one in San Antonio hotel suite, one in a Dallas warehouse), with alternate takes bringing his total preserved output to 42 tracks. All but one of these pieces were assembled in 1990 on the Grammy-winning ''Music/RobertJohnsonTheCompleteRecordings'', with the 42nd, an alternate take of "Travelling Riverside Blues," coming out on a reissue of ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'' in 1998. (According to scholar Tom Graves, Johnson recorded 59 tracks in his known sessions, but 17 of these remain [[MissingEpisode lost to history]]).

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Much of his life is ShroudedInMyth. When he was first rediscovered in the 1960's after the release of the compilation album ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'', many things about the man himself were completely unknown. Since then, thanks to the research of scholars like Elijah Wald, his life and career have been pieced together fairly well. He went through the usual childhood that an African-American in the South went through in the Jim Crow era, though, contrary to the image of him as a Mississippi backwoods figure, he spent a fair amount of his youth in Memphis. He was married and his wife died a few months later. To make ends meet during TheGreatDepression, he became a traveling musician, performing in cafés and other venues throughout the region. Signed to a contract by the American Record Company, he recorded 29 songs over two different sessions held in Texas (one in a San Antonio hotel suite, one in a Dallas warehouse), with alternate takes bringing his total preserved output to 42 tracks. All but one of these pieces were assembled in 1990 on the Grammy-winning ''Music/RobertJohnsonTheCompleteRecordings'', with the 42nd, an alternate take of "Travelling Riverside Blues," coming out on a reissue of ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'' in 1998. (According to scholar Tom Graves, Johnson recorded 59 tracks in his known sessions, but 17 of these remain [[MissingEpisode lost to history]]).


Much of his life is ShroudedInMyth. When he was first rediscovered in the 1960's after the release of the compilation album ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'', many things about the man himself were completely unknown. Since then, thanks to the research of scholars like Elijah Wald, his life and career have been pieced together fairly well. He went through the usual childhood that an African-American during TheGreatDepression went through. He was married and his wife died a few months later. After that he travelled the South, performing in cafés and other venues, and got two recording sessions where he recorded 29 songs, with alternate takes bringing his total preserved output to 42 tracks. All but one of these pieces were assembled in 1990 on the Grammy-winning ''Music/RobertJohnsonTheCompleteRecordings'', with the 42nd, an alternate take of "Travelling Riverside Blues," coming out on a reissue of ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'' in 1998. (According to scholar Tom Graves, Johnson recorded 59 tracks in his known sessions, but 17 of these remain [[MissingEpisode lost to history]]).

to:

Much of his life is ShroudedInMyth. When he was first rediscovered in the 1960's after the release of the compilation album ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'', many things about the man himself were completely unknown. Since then, thanks to the research of scholars like Elijah Wald, his life and career have been pieced together fairly well. He went through the usual childhood that an African-American during TheGreatDepression in the South went through.through in the Jim Crow era, though, contrary to the image of him as a Mississippi backwoods figure, he spent a fair amount of his youth in Memphis. He was married and his wife died a few months later. After that To make ends meet during TheGreatDepression, he travelled the South, became a traveling musician, performing in cafés and other venues, and got two recording sessions where venues throughout the region. Signed to a contract by the American Record Company, he recorded 29 songs, songs over two different sessions held in Texas (one in San Antonio hotel suite, one in a Dallas warehouse), with alternate takes bringing his total preserved output to 42 tracks. All but one of these pieces were assembled in 1990 on the Grammy-winning ''Music/RobertJohnsonTheCompleteRecordings'', with the 42nd, an alternate take of "Travelling Riverside Blues," coming out on a reissue of ''King of the Delta Blues Singers'' in 1998. (According to scholar Tom Graves, Johnson recorded 59 tracks in his known sessions, but 17 of these remain [[MissingEpisode lost to history]]).


* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is an undead crimefighter alongside the fellow members of the Club he founded. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.

to:

* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's Luke McGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is was an undead crimefighter alongside the [[CelebritiesHangOutInHeaven fellow members of the Club he founded.founded]]. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.


* OneManBand: He could play melody, rhythm, and bass line on his guitar, stomp his foot to give a drum part, and sing, all simultaneously, acting as a one-man five-piece band.

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* OneManBand: He could play melody, rhythm, and bass line on his guitar, stomp his foot to give a drum part, and sing, all simultaneously, acting as a one-man five-piece band. According to legend, he had unusually large hands and long fingers that allowed him to do tricks with the guitar that few other blues players could do.


* ''Magazine/Mad'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is an undead crimefighter alongside the fellow members of the Club he founded. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.

to:

* ''Magazine/Mad'': ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is an undead crimefighter alongside the fellow members of the Club he founded. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.


* ''Magazine/MAD'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is an undead crimefighter alongside the fellow members of the Club he founded. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.

to:

* ''Magazine/MAD'': ''Magazine/Mad'': In Creator/LukeMcGarry's "27 Club" series, Johnson is an undead crimefighter alongside the fellow members of the Club he founded. Unfortunately, due to that little deal of his, he's the only member to spend eternity in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], enduring CoolAndUnusualPunishments.


[[CaptainObvious As may be gathered from his years of birth and death above]], [[ShortLivedBigImpact he only lived to be 27]]. Over his lifetime only a handful of songs were ever recorded, but each and every one of them is influential. A "Zeroth Law of Blues Standards", analogous to JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples, may be formulated: if you trace any blues standard[[note]]a well-known blues song which has been covered by a lot of artists[[/note]] back far enough, odds are good--perhaps not as good as the odds for finding Shakespeare in JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples, but still ridiculously good for one single artist--that you will find Robert Johnson. Some of his best-known (and most-covered) songs are "Dust My Broom", "Cross Road Blues", "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Sweet Home Chicago".

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[[CaptainObvious As may be gathered from his years of birth and death above]], above, [[ShortLivedBigImpact he only lived to be 27]]. Over his lifetime only a handful of songs were ever recorded, but each and every one of them is influential. A "Zeroth Law of Blues Standards", analogous to JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples, may be formulated: if you trace any blues standard[[note]]a well-known blues song which has been covered by a lot of artists[[/note]] back far enough, odds are good--perhaps not as good as the odds for finding Shakespeare in JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples, but still ridiculously good for one single artist--that you will find Robert Johnson. Some of his best-known (and most-covered) songs are "Dust My Broom", "Cross Road Blues", "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Sweet Home Chicago".

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