Ep. 211: Nightmare Fuel — The Crossroad Blues

620889BB-105C-4C1D-905E-821E5B116422Hello Addicts,

As I’ve mentioned earlier this season, music has a certain magic about it. It can touch us on a deeply emotional level in ways few others can. What if the power of a song could span beyond that? Can a song be powerful enough to harm someone, possibly being a curse to any who perform it? The Hungarian Suicide song is one, but for this week’s Nightmare Fuel, we look at another — “The Crossroad Blues” by Robert Johnson.

I’m sure we are all familiar with Robert Johnson. For those who may not be, he is a blues legend. Born in Mississippi on May 8, 1911, he was a mainstay at many a street corner, juke joints, and Saturday night dances. In life, he had little success, but recordings he made in 1936 and 1937 made him a legend following his death in August 1938. His music influenced the likes of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones, to name just a few. Many consider him to be a master of the blues and the grandfather of rock and roll.

While Robert Johnson’s musical style and songwriting are enough to make him a legend, you can’t talk about him without discussing the supernatural stories surrounding him. Some refer to Robert as the musician who sold his soul to the devil at a Mississippi crossroads. He is also a member of the infamous Twenty-Seven Club, a group of entertainers who have all died at twenty-seven. This club includes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Jonathan Brandis, and Anton Yelchin, among others.

The supernatural may not just surround Robert Johnson, but may also include his music. Some consider one of his songs, “The Crossroad Blues”, to be cursed. Tragedies have touched Lynyrd Skynrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Robert Plant, and Eric Clapton after performing the song. Kurt Cobain, also a member of the Twenty-Seven Club, considered recording a cover of the song prior to his suicide.

The catch with curses is the possibility of everything being coincidental. Humans look for patterns to make sense of things. It’s in our nature. However, one cannot completely rule out the possibility that curses may be more than just superstition. Many a strange thing happens in this world, some with no more an explanation than curse or coincidence.

Until next time, Addicts.



One thought on “Ep. 211: Nightmare Fuel — The Crossroad Blues

  1. The idea of music having supernatural power is a fascinating one. When I was doing research for my novel on this very subject, about how powerful ghosts can reside in musical compositions, I discovered The Devil’s Trill by Giuseppe Tartini (Violin Sonata in G Minor). Tartini had a dream of the devil who gave him the sonata. Along with some soul selling! The story is recounted in Giuseppe Tartini’s own words in Jerome Lalande’s book Voyage d’un François en Italie (1769):

    ‘One night I dreamed I had made a pact with the Devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported: my breath failed me and I awoke.’

    If you listen to the sonata (free online), you will certainly be enraptured!


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