Spanish musician and composer Pablo Casals, playing the cello in 1936.
Fox Photos/Getty Images
November 23, 2011 Two hugely important recordings, made by pivotal musicians an ocean apart, were made on the same day in 1936.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/142700464/142723574" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
One of the two known photos of Robert Johnson. This portrait was taken by the Hooks Bros. Photography Company in Memphis, Tenn., circa 1935.
Courtesy of the Delta Haze Corporation
May 6, 2011 Despite hardy rumors that the bluesman sold his soul to the devil, Johnson's most important legacy is his mastery of recorded music.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/136063911/136084825" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson.
Courtesy of Sony/Columbia Legacy
May 6, 2011 NPR Music intern Catherine DeGennaro finds out while the context may change, the blues stays the same.
February 16, 2010 Influencing everyone from The Rolling Stones to Cassandra Wilson, the blues recordings that came out of the Mississippi Delta from the late 1920s through the late '30s have had an enormous impact on American music. Hear songs from Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Son House and more.
April 22, 2006 A new CD gathers rare early blues and country records, including some that have never before reached the general public. Richard Nevins, who compiled The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, tells Debbie Elliott about the collection.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5357441/5357478" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
March 30, 2004 Eric Clapton once wrote that Robert Johnson's best songs have "never been covered by anyone else, at least not very successfully — because how are you going to do them?" Now the rock guitarist has recorded Me and Mr. Johnson, a CD of the legendary bluesman's works that Clapton calls a labor of love.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1798862/1802267" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 17, 2001 Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson gets a third shrine, this one in Greenwood, Mississippi. Experts think he actually is buried there.
One of two existing photographs of Robert Johnson.
Courtesy of the artist.
June 5, 2000 Robert Johnson only recorded a few songs, and very little biographical information and photographs exist, but there are plenty of myths — that he sold his soul to the Devil to play the guitar better than anyone else, and as his fame was spreading, he was murdered, or a victim of black magic.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1075057/19009272" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor