Oct 2, 2011
Crossroad Blues is one of the most popular songs from the delta blues era, a trully influential tune to later blues and rock. It was first released in 1936 and the original version was released again only in 1990. In 1998 Crossroads Blues was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Alot of confusion has followed the interpretation of the lyrics. In recent years it was believed that the legend of selling one's soul to the devil for mastery of the blues was the main theme and Robert was telling the story of how the trade went down at the Crossroads. However, there is no actual reference of any of this in the lyrics. Moreover, this legend actually followed bluesman Tommy Johnson, who shares a common surname with Robert Johnson but not much esle. The 1986 film "Crossroads" supports the false association of the legend with Robert Johnson.
According to contemporary blues historians one of the most obvious messages in the song is racial discrimination in the south in the 1930's. When Robert Johnson desparately tries to "hitch a ride" he is looking for a way to make it home before dark else he'd be in danger of getting lynched.