The Seven Wonders of Rock n Roll-#1 The Crossroads

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I wrote my favorite post a few months ago. https://caveoffame.com/2013/02/20/the-devils-music/

And since then I have goggled around and have found no boot tracks to mark the consecrated ground of the “Seven Wonders of Rock”. None have attempted to single these out: from the big guys of Rolling Stone and Spin all the way down to the insignificant little-guy blogger in a cave like me.

"The Crossroads", where Robert Johns...
“The Crossroads”, where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for mastery of the blues, according to the legend. It is the intersection of U.S. Routes 61 and 49, at Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am starting at The Crossroads-There is a marker at the intersection of U.S. Routes 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi that is the tourist spot to go. This may or may not be the place of legend and it does work …but…I have this idea of a more rural deserted crossroads at midnight with a full moon(devil optional). Robert Johnson made a choice that night and played guitar like he was chased by the hounds of hell for the rest on his days on earth. Rock n Roll was born here! So when I go I will be taking pictures at both places…the one that is marked and the one that I have in my mind as yet unmarked.

It has to be in Mississippi -The crossroads where black and white music mixed to create an American phenomenon that took over the whole world. The devil has been in the details ever since.

My plan is to roll these out one by one until we have all seven-  Then create a separate  page- and just maybe another site where people can send pictures and opinions because that would be awesome!  There is still time to change my mind on these wonders. I will entertain any suggestions and give you full credit if you can convince me of an error.

And lastly I am not enforcing the “be nice” WordPress decorum if you want to leave opinions. These 7 wonders are for all of us and it is more important that I get this right (or close to it) instead of feeling warm and fuzzy all over with tons of like buttons.

As of now I have no actual pictures because I have visited none of these sites, I hope to change that in the near future!

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The Devil’s Music

Robert Johnson's studio portrait, circa 1935—o...
Robert Johnson’s studio portrait, circa 1935—one of only two verified known published photographs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine yourself as a struggling bluesman in the 1930’s going from town to town, playing little juke joints and street corners in the rural south. Maybe you get in trouble with women and whiskey, maybe you catch some grief for playing evil music…I’m just guessing here. You may even wonder if playing this type of music is a good or bad thing. There would not be much fame or money—Rock stars don’t exist yet because you are going to be the first one.

So at a point in your life when you wonder just what the hell you are doing…you meet a white man at the crossroads (because he won’t go into town at night) and sign a record deal that probably makes him a lot more money than you- this seals the deal and makes you devote your life (there won’t be much of it left) playing the devil’s music.

Yeah, I made that up…

The actual legend has the young Robert Johnson meeting the devil at a crossroads at midnight and selling his soul in order to play guitar like no one ever played it before.  The devil wouldn’t take too long to collect on this bargain as Robert Johnson would die at the age of 27 by means of poison; either a jealous woman or angry man? (the details are sketchy at best) There is little doubt that he got real talent so quick that people were looking for a story. There is also no doubt that stories fly fast and furious when you leave this earth by tangled means.

When his records were re-released many years later in England…they had a profound influence on musicians like Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling stones. If blues is the cornerstone of rock music, it is not too much of a stretch to say that a lot of the weight and grit in that first heavy brick can be traced back to this man. Rock music owes its substance to him.

I have taken shots at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they got it right by putting him in with the first nominees.

So as I am starting a page called “The of 7 Wonders of Rock Music” with a crossroads in Mississippi- There is a marker at the intersection of U.S. Routes 61 and 49 in Clarksdale. This is the one that is tagged as the tourist place of  this legend… But to complete this wonder, I would also go with any deserted crossroads in the State of Mississippi at Midnight (full moon optional) as a pure rock n roll alternative.

We have the first of the seven wonders of Rock music…6 more to go…get your comments in now to help find the others.