bb king guitar lesson

Johnson is also known for using the guitar as "the other vocalist in the song", a technique later perfected by B.B. King and his personified guitar named. B.B. King tabs, chords, guitar, bass, ukulele chords, power tabs and guitar pro tabs including every day i have the blues, guess who, blues boys tune. Sheet music arranged for Piano/Vocal/Guitar, and Singer Pro in Bb Major to choose from. fields of gold guitar lesson, fields of gold guitar cover. bb king guitar lesson

Bb king guitar lesson -

There are those who believed that BB King wasn’t the world’s greatest guitar player, including the man himself. In a recent interview he said:

I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man. Well, that’s because there’s been so many can do it better'n I can, play the blues better'n me.

And his musical vocabulary was limited; King once told Bono: “I’m no good with chords, so what we do is, uh, get somebody else to play chords… I’m horrible with chords”. He even claimed that he couldn’t play and sing at the same time.

Speaking as someone who used to teach guitar, I would agree that BB King wasn’t a particularly technical player. Although he was one of the first guitarists to have hits with single-note electric blues solos, he was followed by a wave of more proficient and versatile practitioners, prominent among them Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Despite this, he continued to play to packed houses well into his 80s and remains one of the most loved and respected guitarists in music history. So what was it about King’s playing that has captivated me and so many others? I think the answer lies the way he never played perfectly in tune.

Blue notes

Like most blues players, King based many of his phrases and licks on the minor pentatonic scale, which is a simple “box shape” on the fingerboard that most electric guitarists learn very early in their careers. Indeed, box shapes are such a simple musical vocabulary that blues guitarists often don’t even need to know the names of the notes they’re playing (in my experience, this fact often comes as a shock to classical musicians).

The minor pentatonic scale – and its close cousin the blues scale – works by omitting some steps from the full minor scale. This simplifies the melodic choices available to the soloist, effectively limiting the musical vocabulary of the melody. But it’s this melodic constraint that I think gave BB King’s playing the opportunity to develop its majestic and expressive style. He was what I like to call a microtonal guitarist – his solos were made more expressive by bending the notes slightly out of tune.

King’s seventh-to-octave licks were sometimes slightly flat, his fifths would sometimes slowly drift toward the note as the string bend was pushed from the note below, and – most importantly – he was a lifelong student of the mysterious “blues third”, the note that can be found somewhere in the cracks between the third step of the minor and major scale.

King’s thirds could be wayward, mischievous, reflective, reckless, argumentative, morose, pensive or accusatory. Take a listen to his performance from Montreux in 1993. At [0:29] the third is sharp, brazenly drawing attention to itself as an almost-wrong E-natural against the brass section’s A flat chord. At [1:21] it’s right in the middle of the cracks, starting angrily on the full minor third and quickly bending upward as the titular “thrill” ride disappears down the road, speeding away from the lyric’s lonely protagonist. At [1:49] there’s a seven-note lick where every note is slightly out of tune, and the thirds drift between major and minor intervals in a way that, to me, resembles the fluctuations of a human voice – followed by an almost silent final minor third, the upward string bend resembling nothing less than an intake of breath.

This is what BB King fans mean when they say he’s speaking through the guitar. The irregularities in his tuning are more than just a stylistic feature – they are the way he communicates musically. The blues genre’s simple chords and predictable note choices are not the point of the performance; they’re just the shape of the picture frame through which King’s artistry can be seen.

And while that agonised “blues face” he pulls when he up-bends a string may be partly showmanship, it is also representative of the incredibly subtle and difficult judgement a great blues player has to make as the string bend approaches the perfectly expressive out-of-tune note.

Still not convinced? Think my analysis represents the over-constructed ramblings of a grieving electric blues fan? Have a listen to these three different King performances.

In 3 o'clock blues (1952), the licks are brash and loud but the microtones are unsubtle, as the 26-year-old King ambitiously shows off his newly-minted technique to the world. In Sweet Little Angel (1964) we hear King the live showman at the height of his powers; the guitar licks respond dynamically to the crowd, as the pitching of the thirds reacts to the auditorium’s screams in real time. The 2006 recording of The Thrill is Gone shows King in his sunset years, with the occasional fluffed note but the microtones and dynamics more varied than ever – the confident maturity of an old man who knows his audience is hanging on his every note.

BB King’s subtle string bends are the sound of a musician completely immersed in his communication medium, speaking a special and unique musical language that he has been inventing for a lifetime. The great man is gone, but his blue notes will live forever.


BB King Quick Licks-3



Tasty BB King licks to use in your blues guitar solos!
Grab the free BB king quick licks tab book for this video here:

BB King Quick Lick lesson #3

In this BB King quick licks lesson you’ll learn a cool minor blues lick like something BB plays in ‘The Thrill Is Gone’. It’s typical of many BB King’s licks with it’s use of space, economy of notes and the sliding blues scale. Check out the recording of ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ to hear BB play licks like this and to get an overall picture of the classic BB King guitar style. Check out the other BB King licks in this video series too. Enjoy!

Tasty BB King licks to use in your blues guitar solos!
Grab the free BB king quick licks tab book for this video here:

BB King, BB King licks, blues, Blues Guitar, blues guitar lick, guitar, guitar lesson, james shipway
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Abraxas – Santana". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2006.
  • ^"Material Returns"(PDF). Cash Box. February 21, 1976. p. 48. Retrieved November 21, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  • ^"Two sets of Phish opening for Santana, summers '92 and '96". KDRT 95.7FM Davis. June 3, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
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  • ^"Carlos Santana Grooves in Guitar Hero 5, which included the song black magic woman". idiomag. July 21, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
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  • ^"Interview: Carlos Santana Discusses His MasterClass on "The Art and Soul of Guitar"". March 6, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  • ^"Carlos Santana Joins Online MasterClass Teaching Staff". L4LM. December 13, 2018.
  • ^"Santana Cancel European Tour Due To Coronavirus". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  • ^"Grammy award-winning artist and guitarist Carlos Cantana signs with BMG". Music Business Worldwide. August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  • ^"NYC Central Park Homecoming Concert". CNN. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
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  • ^"Santana – Musician's Corner – Red Guitar". Archived from the original on April 1, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
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  • ^"Carlos Santana: 'I Am A Reflection Of Your Light'". NPR. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  • ^"Tony Bennett To Receive Billboard's Century Award". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. August 4, 2006. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  • ^"Carlos Santana set for lifetime award". The Hollywood Reporter. April 23, 2009. Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  • ^"Roberto Carlos and Carlos Santana to Be Honored at Billboard Latin Music Awards". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. April 3, 2015. Archived from the original on September 11, 2019. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
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  • ^"Carlos Santana

    Life story

    B.B. King’s real name is actually Riley B. King, we’ll get to how he got his nickname in a minute. He was born on a Mississippi cotton plantation in a small shed on September 16, 1925. His father left their family in 1930, after which, his mother remarried. B.B. was mostly raised by his maternal grandmother.

    Legend has it, that B.B. bought his first guitar at the age of 12 for $15. He sang in a local gospel group as a child. When he turned 18, B.B. got a job as a tractor driver. At the age of 21, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, the musical capital of the South, to live with his cousin, Bukka White, who was an accomplished blues musician. He became one of B.B. King’s first inspirations.

    B.B. started working as a singer and DJ for a local radio station in Memphis. This is where he actually got his nickname, B.B. At the station, they called him “Beale Street Blues Boy”, hence B.B.

    King made his first recording in 1949 and hasn’t stopped since.

    He was the first African American blues player to go on tour in the USSR in 1979, by which time, he had already achieved fame, and was one of the most sought-after musicians. He played on average 250 gigs per year, with a whopping 340 gigs in 1956.

    B.B. was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

    He has collaborated with dozens of music stars, including Eric Clapton, U2, and many more.

    He has released over 50 studio albums and has amassed a large collection of awards and honors for his music.

    BB King passed away on May 15, 2015. He passed in his sleep, with no pain.

    I am filled with regret since even though BB toured non-stop even in his old age, I never got to see him perform live.

    Eric Clapton drew inspiration, like many, from BB. He posted a touching video on YouTube after BB passed, here it is.

    Family life

    King has been married 2 times during his life, both marriages ended because B.B. was always on the road gigging. His wives were:

    • Martha Lee Denton, 1946 to 1952
    • Sue Carol Hall, 1958 to 1966.

    B.B. has 15 children and more than 50 grandchildren.

    B.B. King’s businesses

    Besides his music franchise (singles, albums, product licensing), he is also the owner of several blues clubs across the US, aptly names “B.B King’s Blues Club”.


    Carlos Santana

    American musician

    This article is about the guitarist. For other people named Carlos Santana, see Carlos Santana (disambiguation).

    In this Spanish name, the first or paternal surname is Santana and the second or maternal family name is Barragán.

    Ambox current red Americas.svg

    This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(March 2020)

    Musical artist

    Carlos Humberto Santana Barragán[2]About this soundaudio (help·info) (born July 20, 1947) is an American guitarist who rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock 'n' roll and Latin American jazz. Its sound featured his melodic, blues-based lines set against Latin American and African rhythms played on percussion instruments not generally heard in rock, such as timbales and congas. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s. In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine listed him at No. 20 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists.[3] He has won 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards,[4] and was inducted along with his namesake band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.[5]


    Early life[edit]

    Santana was born in Autlán de Navarro in Jalisco, Mexico on July 20, 1947. He learned to play the violin at age five and the guitar at age eight, under the tutelage of his father, who was a mariachi musician.[6] His younger brother, Jorge, also became a professional guitarist. Santana was heavily influenced by Ritchie Valens at a time when there were very few Mexicans in American rock music. The family moved from Autlán to Tijuana, on the border with the U.S. They then moved to San Francisco, California, where his father had steady work.[6][7][8][9] In October 1966, Santana started the Santana Blues Band. By 1968, the band had begun to incorporate different types of influences into their electric blues. Santana later said, "If I would go to some cat's room, he'd be listening to Sly [Stone] and Jimi Hendrix; another guy to the Stones and the Beatles. Another guy'd be listening to Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaría. Another guy'd be listening to Miles [Davis] and [John] Coltrane... to me, it was like being at a university."[10]

    Around the age of eight, Santana "fell under the influence" of blues performers like B.B. King, Javier Bátiz, Mike Bloomfield, and John Lee Hooker. Gábor Szabó's mid-1960s jazz guitar work also strongly influenced Santana's playing. Indeed, Szabó's composition "Gypsy Queen" was used as the second part of Santana's 1970 treatment of Peter Green's composition "Black Magic Woman", almost down to identical guitar licks. Santana's 2012 instrumental album Shape Shifter includes a song called "Mr. Szabo", played in tribute in the style of Szabó. Santana also credits Hendrix, Bloomfield, Hank Marvin, and Peter Green as important influences; he considered Bloomfield a direct mentor, writing of a key meeting with Bloomfield in San Francisco in the foreword he wrote to a 2000 biography of Bloomfield, Michael Bloomfield: If You Love These Blues – An Oral History.[11] Between the ages of 10 and 12, he was sexually abused by an American man who brought him across the border.[12] Santana lived in the Mission District, graduated from James Lick Middle School, and left Mission High School in 1965. He was accepted at California State University, Northridge and Humboldt State University, but chose not to attend college.[13]

    Early career[edit]

    Santana was influenced by popular artists of the 1950s such as B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Javier Batiz,[15] and John Lee Hooker.[16] Soon after he began playing guitar, he joined local bands along the "Tijuana Strip" where he was able to begin developing his own sound.[16] He was also introduced to a variety of new musical influences, including jazz and folk music, and witnessed the growing hippie movement centered in San Francisco in the 1960s. After several years spent working as a dishwasher at Tic Tock Drive-In No2 and busking to pay for a Gibson SG, replacing a destroyed Gibson Melody Maker,[17] Santana decided to become a full-time musician. In 1966, he was chosen along with other musicians to form an ad hoc band to substitute for that of an intoxicated Paul Butterfield set to play a Sunday matinee at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium. Graham selected the substitutes from musicians he knew primarily through his connections with the Butterfield Blues Band, Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane. Santana's guitar playing caught the attention of both the audience and Graham.[18]

    During the same year he and fellow street musicians David Brown (bass guitar), Marcus Malone (percussion) and Gregg Rolie (lead vocals, Hammond Organ B3), formed the Santana Blues Band.[19] Playing a highly original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa, and African rhythms, the band gained an immediate following on the San Francisco club circuit.

    Record deal, Woodstock breakthrough, and height of success: 1969–1972[edit]

    Trade ad for Santana's album Santana III

    Santana's band was signed by Columbia Records, which shortened its name to simply "Santana".[20] It went into the studio to record its first album in January 1969, finally laying down tracks in May that became its first album. Members were not satisfied with the release, dismissed drummer Bob Livingston, and added Mike Shrieve, who had a strong background in both jazz and rock. The band then lost percussionist Marcus Malone, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Michael Carabello was re-enlisted in his place, bringing with him experienced Nicaraguan percussionist José Chepito Areas.

    Major rock music promoter Bill Graham, a Latin Music aficionado who had been a fan of Santana from its inception, arranged for the band to appear at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival before its debut album was even released. Its set was one of the surprises of the festival, highlighted by an eleven-minute performance of a throbbing instrumental, "Soul Sacrifice". Its inclusion in the Woodstock film and soundtrack album vastly increased the band's popularity. Graham also suggested Santana record the Willie Bobo song "Evil Ways", as he felt it would get radio airplay. The band's first album, Santana, was released in August 1969 and became a hit, reaching No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200.[21]

    The band's performance at Woodstock and the follow-up sound track and movie introduced them to an international audience and garnered critical acclaim. The sudden success which followed put pressure on the group, highlighting the different musical directions Rolie and Santana were starting to go. Rolie, along with some of the other band members, wanted to emphasize a basic hard rock sound which had been a key component in establishing the band from the start. Santana, however, was increasingly interested in moving beyond his love of blues and rock and wanted more jazzy, ethereal elements in the music. He became fascinated with Gábor Szabó, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, and John Coltrane, as well as developing a growing interest in spirituality. At the same time, Chepito Areas was stricken with a near-fatal brain hemorrhage, and Santana hoped to continue by finding a temporary replacement (first Willie Bobo, then Coke Escovedo), while others in the band, especially Michael Carabello, felt it was wrong to perform publicly without Areas. Cliques formed, and the band started to disintegrate.

    Consolidating the interest generated by their first album, and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band followed up with their second album, Abraxas, in September 1970. The album's mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band's early sound. Abraxas included two of Santana's most enduring and well-known hits, "Oye Como Va", and "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen". Abraxas spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart at the end of 1970.[22] The album remained on the charts for 88 weeks and was certified 4x platinum in 1986.[23] In 2003, the album was ranked number 205 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[24]

    Teenage San Francisco Bay Area guitar prodigy Neal Schon joined the Santana band in 1971, in time to complete the third album, Santana III. The band now boasted a powerful dual-lead-guitar act that gave the album a tougher sound. The sound of the band was also helped by the return of a recuperated Chepito Areas and the assistance of Coke Escovedo in the percussion section. Enhancing the band's sound further was the support of popular Bay Area group Tower of Power's horn section, Luis Gasca of Malo, and other session musicians which added to both percussion and vocals, injecting more energy to the proceedings. Santana III was another success, reaching No. 1 on the album charts, selling two million copies, and yielding the hit "No One to Depend On".

    Tension between members of the band continued, however. Along with musical differences, drug use became a problem, and Santana was deeply worried that it was affecting the band's performance. Coke Escovedo encouraged Santana to take more control of the band's musical direction, much to the dismay of some of the others who thought that the band and its sound was a collective effort. Also, financial irregularities were exposed while under the management of Stan Marcum, whom Bill Graham criticized as being incompetent. Growing resentments between Santana and Michael Carabello over lifestyle issues resulted in his departure on bad terms. James Mingo Lewis was hired at the last minute as a replacement at a concert in New York City. David Brown later left due to substance abuse problems. A South American tour was cut short in Lima, Peru due to unruly fans and student protests against U.S. governmental policies.

    In January 1972, Santana, Schon, Escovedo, and Lewis joined former Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles for a concert at Hawaii's Diamond Head Crater, which was recorded for the album Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!, which became a gold record.


    Santana performing in Hamburg, Germany in 1973

    In early 1972, Santana and the remaining members of the band started working on their fourth album, Caravanserai. During the studio sessions, Santana and Michael Shrieve brought in other musicians: percussionists James Mingo Lewis and Latin-Jazz veteran, Armando Peraza replacing Michael Carabello, and bassists Tom Rutley and Doug Rauch replacing David Brown. Also assisting on keyboards were Wendy Haas and Tom Coster. With the unsettling influx of new players in the studio, Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon decided that it was time to leave after the completion of the album, even though both contributed to the session. Rolie returned home to Seattle; later, he and Schon became founding members of Journey.

    When Caravanserai did emerge in 1972, it marked a strong change in musical direction towards jazz fusion. The album received critical praise, but CBS executive Clive Davis warned Santana and the band that it would sabotage the band's position as a "Top 40" act. Nevertheless, over the years, the album achieved platinum status. The difficulties Santana and the band went through during this period were chronicled in Ben Fong-Torres' Rolling Stone 1972 cover story "The Resurrection of Carlos Santana".

    Shifting styles and spirituality: 1972–1979[edit]

    New Year's Eve 1976 at the Cow Palacein San Francisco

    In 1972, Santana became interested in the pioneering fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra and its guitarist, John McLaughlin. Aware of Santana's interest in meditation, McLaughlin introduced Santana and his wife Deborah to his guru Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy accepted them as disciples in 1973. Santana was given the name Devadip, meaning "The lamp, light and eye of God". Santana and McLaughlin recorded an album together, Love, Devotion, Surrender (1973) with members of Santana and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, along with percussionist Don Alias and organist Larry Young, both of whom had made appearances, along with McLaughlin, on Miles Davis' classic 1970 album Bitches Brew.

    In 1973, Santana, having obtained legal rights to the band's name, Santana, formed a new version of the band with Armando Peraza and Chepito Areas on percussion, Doug Rauch on bass, Michael Shrieve on drums, and Tom Coster and Richard Kermode on keyboards. Santana later was able to recruit jazz vocalist Leon Thomas for the tour supporting Caravanserai in Japan on July 3 and 4, 1973, which was recorded for the 1974 live, sprawling, high-energy triple vinyl LP fusion album Lotus. CBS records would not allow its release unless the material was condensed. Santana did not agree to those terms, and Lotus was available in the U.S. only as an expensive, imported, three-record set. The group later went into the studio and recorded Welcome (1973), which further reflected Santana's interests in jazz fusion and his increasing commitment to the spiritual life of Sri Chinmoy.

    A collaboration with John Coltrane's widow, Alice Coltrane, Illuminations (1974), followed. The album delved into avant-garde esoteric free jazz, Eastern Indian and classical influences with other ex-Miles Davis sidemen Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland. Soon after, Santana replaced his band members again. This time Kermode, Thomas and Rauch departed from the group and were replaced by vocalist Leon Patillo (later a successful Contemporary Christian artist) and returning bassist David Brown. He also recruited soprano saxophonist, Jules Broussard for the lineup. The band recorded one studio album Borboletta, which was released in 1974. Drummer Leon "Ndugu" Chancler later joined the band as a replacement for Michael Shrieve, who left to pursue a solo career.

    By this time, Bill Graham's management company had assumed responsibility for the affairs of the group. Graham was critical of Santana's move into jazz and felt he needed to concentrate on getting Santana back into the charts with the edgy, streetwise ethnic sound that had made them famous. Santana himself was seeing that the group's direction was alienating many fans. Although the albums and performances were given good reviews by critics in jazz and jazz fusion circles, sales had plummeted.

    Santana, along with Tom Coster, producer David Rubinson, and Chancler, formed yet another version of Santana, adding vocalist Greg Walker. The 1976 album Amigos, which featured the songs "Dance, Sister, Dance" and "Let It Shine", had a strong funk and Latin sound. The album received considerable airplay on FM album-oriented rock stations with the instrumental "Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" and re-introduced Santana to the charts. In 1976, Rolling Stone ran a second cover story on Santana entitled "Santana Comes Home". In February 1976, Santana was presented with fifteen gold disc in Australia, representing sales in excess of 244,000.[25]

    The albums conceived through the late 1970s followed the same formula, although with several lineup changes. Among the new personnel who joined was current percussionist Raul Rekow, who joined in early 1977. Most notable of the band's commercial efforts of this era was a version of the 1960s Zombies hit, "She's Not There", on the 1977 double album Moonflower.

    Santana recorded two solo projects in this time: Oneness: Silver Dreams – Golden Reality, in 1979 and The Swing of Delight in 1980, which featured Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams.

    The pressures and temptations of being a high-profile rock musician and requirements of the spiritual lifestyle which guruSri Chinmoy and his followers demanded were in conflict, and imposed considerable stress upon Santana's lifestyle and marriage. He was becoming increasingly disillusioned with what he thought were the unreasonable rules that Chinmoy imposed on his life, and in particular with his refusal to allow Santana and Deborah to start a family. He felt too that his fame was being used to increase the guru's visibility. Santana and Deborah eventually ended their relationship with Chinmoy in 1982.


    Santana in Barcelona, Spain, 1984

    More radio-friendly singles followed from Santana and the band. "Winning" in 1981 (from Zebop!) and "Hold On" (a remake of the Canadian artist Ian Thomas' song) in 1982 both reached the top twenty. After his break with Sri Chinmoy, Santana went into the studio to record another solo album with Keith Olson and legendary R&B producer Jerry Wexler. The 1983 album Havana Moon revisited Santana's early musical experiences in Tijuana with Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and the title cut, Chuck Berry's "Havana Moon". The album's guests included Booker T. Jones, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Willie Nelson and even Santana's father's mariachi orchestra. Santana again paid tribute to his early rock roots by doing the film score to La Bamba, which was based on the life of rock and roll legend Ritchie Valens and starred Lou Diamond Phillips.

    The band Santana returned in 1985 with a new album, Beyond Appearances, and two years later with Freedom.

    Growing weary of trying to appease record company executives with formulaic hit records, Santana took great pleasure in jamming and making guest appearances with notables such as the jazz fusion group Weather Report, jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, Blues legend John Lee Hooker, Frank Franklin, Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, and West African singer Salif Keita. He and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead later recorded and performed with Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji, who conceived one of Santana's famous 1960s drum jams, "Jingo". In 1988, Santana organized a reunion with past members from the Santana band for a series of concert dates. CBS records released a 20-year retrospective of the band's accomplishments with Viva Santana! double CD compilation. That same year, Santana formed an all-instrumental group featuring jazz legend Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano saxophone. The group also included Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Alphonso Johnson on bass, Armando Peraza and Chepito Areas on percussion, and Leon "Ndugu" Chancler on drums. They toured briefly and received much acclaim from the music press, who compared the effort with the era of Caravanserai (1972). Santana released another solo record, Blues for Salvador (1987), which won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

    In 1990, Santana left Columbia Records after twenty-two years and signed with Polygram. The following year he made a guest appearance on Ottmar Liebert's album, Solo Para Ti (1991), on the songs "Reaching out 2 U" and on a cover of his own song, "Samba Pa Ti". In 1992, Santana hired jam bandPhish as his opening act.[26]

    Return to commercial success[edit]

    Santana performing in 2000

    Santana kicked off the 1990s with a new album Spirits Dancing in the Flesh in 1990. This was followed by Milagro in 1992, a live album Sacred Fire in 1993 and Brothers (a collaboration with his brother Jorge and nephew Carlos Hernandez) in 1994, but sales were relatively poor. Santana toured widely over the next few years but there were no further new album releases, and eventually, he was even without a recording contract. However, Arista Records' Clive Davis, who had worked with Santana at Columbia Records, signed him and encouraged him to record a star-studded album with mostly younger artists. The result was 1999's Supernatural, which included collaborations with Everlast, Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, CeeLo Green, Maná, Dave Matthews, KC Porter, J. B. Eckl, and others.

    However, the lead single was what grabbed the attention of both fans and the music industry. "Smooth", a dynamic cha-cha stop-start number co-written and sung by Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, was laced throughout with Santana's guitar fills and runs. The track's energy was immediately apparent on radio, and it was played on a wide variety of station formats. "Smooth" spent twelve weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming in the process the last No. 1 single of the 1990s. The music video, set on a hot barrio street, was also very popular. Supernatural reached number one on the US album charts and the follow-up single, "Maria Maria", featuring the R&B duo the Product G&B, also hit number one, spending ten weeks there in the spring of 2000. Supernatural eventually shipped over 15 million copies in the United States, and won 8 Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, making it Santana's most successful album.

    Carlos Santana, alongside the classic Santana lineup of their first two albums, was inducted as an individual, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He performed "Black Magic Woman" with the writer of the song, Fleetwood Mac's founder Peter Green. Green was inducted the same night.

    In 2000, Supernatural won nine Grammy Awards (eight for Santana personally), including Album of the Year, Record of the Year for "Smooth", and Song of the Year for Thomas and Itaal Shur. Santana's acceptance speeches described his feelings about music's place in one's spiritual existence. Later that year at the Latin Grammy Awards, he won three awards including Record of the Year. In 2001, Santana's guitar skills were featured in Michael Jackson's song "Whatever Happens" from the album Invincible.

    In 2002, Santana released Shaman, revisiting the Supernatural format of guest artists including Citizen Cope, P.O.D. and Seal. Although the album was not the runaway success its predecessor had been, it produced two radio-friendly hits. "The Game of Love" featuring Michelle Branch, rose to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent many weeks at the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and "Why Don't You & I" written by and featuring Chad Kroeger from the group Nickelback (the original and a remix with Alex Band from the group the Calling were combined towards chart performance) which reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. "The Game of Love" went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. In the same year, he was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.[27]

    Santana 2003 at a concert in Barcelona

    In early August 2003, Santana was named fifteenth on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2004, Santana was honored as the Person of the Year by the Latin Recording Academy.[28]

    On April 21, 2005, Santana was honored as a BMI Icon at the 12th annual BMI Latin Awards. Santana was the first songwriter designated a BMI Icon at the company's Latin Awards. The honor is given to a creator who has been "a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers."[29]

    Santana during a concert in 2005

    In 2005, Herbie Hancock approached Santana to collaborate on an album again using the Supernatural formula. Possibilities was released on August 30, 2005, featuring Carlos Santana and Angélique Kidjo on "Safiatou". Also, in 2005, fellow Latin star Shakira invited Santana to play the soft rock guitar ballad "Illegal" on her second English-language studio album Oral Fixation, Vol. 2.

    Santana's 2005 album All That I Am consists primarily of collaborations with other artists; the first single, the peppy "I'm Feeling You", was again with Michelle Branch and the Wreckers. Other musicians joining the mix this time included Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Kirk Hammett from Metallica, hip-hop artist/songwriter/producer and guitarist/songwriter/producer George Pajon, hip-hop/reggae star Sean Paul and R&B singer Joss Stone. In April and May 2006, Santana toured Europe, where he promoted his son Salvador Santana's band as his opening act.

    In 2007, Santana appeared, along with Sheila E. and José Feliciano, on Gloria Estefan's album 90 Millas, on the single "No Llores". He also teamed again with Chad Kroeger for the hit single "Into the Night". He also played guitar in Eros Ramazzotti's hit "Fuoco nel fuoco" from the album .

    In 2008, Santana was reported to be working with his longtime friend, Marcelo Vieira, on his solo album Acoustic Demos, which was released at the end of the year. It features tracks such as "For Flavia" and "Across the Grave", the latter said to feature heavy melodic riffs by Santana.

    Santana performed at the 2009 American Idol Finale with the top 13 finalists, which starred many acts such as KISS, Queen and Rod Stewart. On July 8, 2009, Santana appeared at the Athens Olympic Stadium in Athens with his 10-member all-star band as part of his "Supernatural Santana – A Trip through the Hits" European tour. On July 10, 2009, he also appeared at Philip II Stadium in Skopje. With a 2.5-hour long concert and 20 000 people, Santana appeared for the first time in that region. "Supernatural Santana – A Trip through the Hits" was played at the Hard Rock hotel in Las Vegas, where it was played through 2011.

    Santana is featured as a playable character in the music video game Guitar Hero 5. A live recording of his song "No One to Depend On" is included in game, which was released on September 1, 2009.[30] More recently, in 2011, three Santana songs were offered as downloadable content (DLC) for guitar learning software Rocksmith: "Oye Como Va", "Smooth", and "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen". In the same year, Santana received the Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award.[31]

    Santana, since 2007, has opened a chain of upscale Mexican restaurants called "Maria Maria". It is a combined effort with Chef Roberto Santibañez. They were located in Tempe, Arizona; Mill Valley (now closed), Walnut Creek, Danville and San Diego; Austin, Texas; and Boca Raton, Florida.[32] As of 2021, the only open location is in Walnut Creek.[33]

    In 2012, Santana released an album Shape Shifter consisting of mostly instrumental tracks. On February 23, 2013, there was a public announcement on about a reunion of the surviving members (minus Jose “Chepito” Areas) of the Santana band who recorded Santana III in 1971. The subsequent album was titled Santana IV. On May 6, 2014, his first ever Spanish language album[34]Corazón was released.

    On September 12, 2015, Santana appeared as a member of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh's band Phil Lesh and Friends at the third annual Lockn' Festival. He has continued to act as a mentor to a younger generation of jam acts, like Derek Trucks and Robert Randolph.[35]

    In 2016, Carlos Santana reunited with past Santana band members Gregg Rolie, Michael Carabello, Michael Shrieve, and Neil Schon to release the album: Santana IV and the band embarked on a brief tour. A full set from this lineup was filmed at the House of Blues in Las Vegas and was released as a live album and a DVD titled Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas.

    In 2017, Santana collaborated with the Isley Brothers to release the album The Power of Peace on July 28, 2017.

    In December 2018, Santana published a guitar lesson on YouTube as part of the online education series MasterClass.[36]

    In October 2019, Santana was featured on the American rapper Tyga's song "Mamacita" alongside American rapper YG. The song's music video premiered on YouTube on 25 October.

    In March 2020, Santana's "Miraculous World Tour" was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[37]

    In August 2021, Santana signed a new global record deal with BMG to release his new full-length studio album Blessings and Miracles.[38] The same month, he performed in New York's Central Park along with Rob Thomas and Wycliffe Jean.[39]


    Guitars and effects[edit]

    Santana played a red Gibson SG Special with P-90 pickups at the Woodstock festival (1969). During 1970–1972, between the release of Abraxas (1970) and Santana III 1971, he used different Gibson Les Pauls and a black Gibson SG Special. In 1974, he played and endorsed the Gibson L6-S Custom. This can be heard on the album Borboletta (1974). From 1976 until 1982, his main guitar was a Yamaha SG 175B, and sometimes a white Gibson SG Custom with three open-coil pick-ups. In 1982, he started to use a custom made PRS Custom 24 guitar. In 1988 PRS Guitars began making Santana signature model guitars, which Santana has played through its various iterations ever since (see below).

    Santana currently uses a Santana II model guitar fitted with PRS Santana III nickel-covered pickups, a tremolo bar, and .009–.042 gauge D'Addario strings. He also plays a PRS Santana MD "The Multidimensional" guitar.[40] The Santana guitars feature necks made of a single piece of mahogany topped with rosewood fretboards (some feature highly sought-after Brazilian rosewood).[41]

    Santana Signature models:

    • PRS Santana I "The Yellow" guitar (1988)
    • PRS Santana II "Supernatural" guitar (1999)
    • PRS Santana III guitar (2001)
    • PRS Santana SE guitar (2001)
    • PRS Santana SE II guitar (2003)
    • PRS Santana Shaman SE-Limited Edition guitar (2003)
    • PRS Santana MD "The Multidimensional" guitar (2008)
    • PRS Santana 25th Anniversary guitar (2009)
    • PRS Santana Abraxas SE-Limited Edition guitar (2009)
    • PRS Santana SE "The Multidimensional" guitar (2011)
    • PRS Santana Retro guitar (2017)
    • PRS Santana Yellow SE guitar (2017)
    The Carlos Santana exhibit in the Artist Gallery of the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix

    Santana also uses a classical guitar, he used the Alvarez Yairi CY127CE with Alvarez tension nylon strings,[42] in the last years from 2009 he uses custom made, semi-hollow Toru Nittono's "Model-T" Jazz Electric Nylon.[43]

    Santana does not use many effects pedals. His PRS guitar is connected to a Mu-TronWah-wah pedal (or, more recently, a Dunlop 535Q wah[44] and a T-Rex Replica delay pedal,[44][45] then through a customized Jim Dunlop amp switcher which in turn is connected to the different amps or cabinets.

    Previous setups include an Ibanez Tube Screamer[46] right after the guitar. He is also known to have used an Electro-HarmonixBig Muff distortion for his famous sustain. In the song "Stand Up" from the album Marathon (1979), Santana uses a Heil talk box in the guitar solo. He has also used the Audiotech Guitar Products 1x6 Rack Mount Audio Switcher in rehearsals for the 2008 "Live Your Light" tour.

    Santana uses two different guitar picks: the large triangular Dunlop he has used for so many years, and the V-Pick Freakishly Large Round.


    Santana's distinctive guitar tone is produced by PRS Santana signature guitars plugged into multiple amplifiers. The amps consist of a Mesa Boogie Mark I, Dumble Overdrive Reverb and more recently a Bludotone amplifier. Santana compares the tonal qualities of each amplifier to that of a singer producing head/nasal tones, chest tones, and belly tones. A three-way amp switcher is employed on Carlos's pedal board to enable him to switch between amps. Often the unique tones of each amplifier are blended together, complementing each other producing a richer tone.

    He also put the "Boogie" in Mesa Boogie. Santana is credited with coining the popular Mesa amplifier name when he tried one and exclaimed, "That little thing really Boogies!"[47]

    Specifically, Santana combines a Mesa/Boogie Mark I head running through a Boogie cabinet with Altec 417-8H (or recently JBL E120s) speakers, and a Dumble Overdrive Reverb and/or a Dumble Overdrive Special running through a Brown or Marshall 4x12 cabinet with Celestion G12M "Greenback" speakers, depending on the desired sound. Shure KSM-32 microphones are used to pick up the sound, going to the PA. Additionally, a Fender Cyber-Twin Amp is mostly used at home.

    During his early career, Santana used a GMT transistor amplifier stack and a silverface Fender Twin. The GMT 226A rig was used at the Woodstock concert as well as during recording Santana's debut album. During this era, Santana also began to use the Fender Twin, which was also used on the debut and proceedingly[clarification needed] at the recording sessions of Abraxas.

    Personal life[edit]

    Santana became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1965.[48] He married Deborah King, daughter of blues musician Saunders King, in 1973. They have three children named Salvador, Stella, and Angelica,[49] and co-founded a non-profit organization called the Milagro (Miracle) Foundation, which provides financial aid for educational, medical, and other needs. On October 19, 2007, Deborah filed for divorce after 34 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.[50]

    Santana became engaged to drummer Cindy Blackman after proposing to her during a concert of the Universal Tone Tour at Tinley Park on July 9, 2010. The two were married in December 2010,[51][52] and currently live in Las Vegas.[53]


    Main articles: Carlos Santana discography and Santana discography

    Studio albums[edit]

    Live albums[edit]

    Compilation albums[edit]

    • Magic of Carlos Santana (2001)
    • Divine Light (2001)
    • The Latin Sound of Carlos Santana (2003)
    • Carlos Santana (2004)
    • Very Best of Carlos Santana (2005)
    • Carlos Santana (2006)
    • Havana Moon/Blues for Salvador (2007)
    • Multi-Dimensional Warrior (2008)

    Guest appearances[edit]

    • Dora the Explorer, "Oye Como Va" (2005)


    On November 4, 2014, his memoirThe Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light was published.[34][54]ISBN 978-0-31624-492-3

    Awards and nominations[edit]

    For awards and nominations received by the band Santana, see List of awards and nominations received by Santana.

    See also[edit]

    Explanatory notes[edit]

    1. ^Indicates the year of ceremony. Each year is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.


    1. ^"RCA's Peter Edge, Tom Corson on the Shuttering of Jive, J and Arista". Billboard. October 7, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
    2. ^Ovalle, Juan Martín (March 29, 2019). "Un verano con el legendario Carlos Santana". Fort Worth Star-Telegram (in Spanish).
    3. ^"100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 18, 2015. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
    4. ^"Santana received 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards". AllMusic. 1999. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
    5. ^"Santana". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
    6. ^ abBrichi, Karim. "1947-1966". Santanamigos. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
    7. ^"The Latin American Club". PUNCH. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
    8. ^"Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins Walks Us Down Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission". Retrieved September 27, 2020.
    9. ^"Bay Area". April 29, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
    10. ^Szatmary, David P. (2014). Rockin' in Time. United States: Pearson. p. 216. ISBN .
    11. ^"Carlos Santana Influences". April 23, 1977. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
    12. ^"Santana Says He Was Molested As A Child".
    13. ^"50 facts from life of Carlos Santana". BOOMSbeat. December 29, 2015. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
    14. ^Carlos Santana: I’m Immortal interview by Punto Digital, October 13, 2010.
    15. ^"Javier Bátiz, Santana – I love you much too much (en directo)". June 2, 2015. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021 – via YouTube.
    16. ^ ab"Carlos Santana – the king of World Music". La Voz. Denver: La Voz Publishing Company. 24 (34): 11. August 26, 1998. ISSN 0746-0988. OCLC 9747738.
    17. ^Santana, Carlos (November 4, 2014). The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light. Little, Brown. ISBN .
    18. ^Shapiro, Marc, "Carlos Santana: Back on Top”, pages 57–58, St. Martin’s Press, ISBN 0-312-26904-8, 2000.
    19. ^Ruhlmann, William (2003). "Carlos Santana > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
    20. ^[1][dead link]
    21. ^Santana. Sony. 1998. 489542-2.
    22. ^"Chart Beat Bonus". Billboard. November 1, 2002. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
    23. ^"Santana – Abraxas". Retrieved June 14, 2014.
    24. ^Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "205 Artist". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
    25. ^"Hollywood Walk of Fame Carlos Santana". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
    26. ^"International Latin Music Hall of Fame Announces Inductees for 2002". April 5, 2002. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
    27. ^"List of Kennedy Center Honorees". Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
    28. ^"Latin honours for Carlos Santana". BBC News. May 25, 2004. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
    29. ^"Carlos Santana To Be Inducted Into NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
    30. ^""Rock the Vote": How a Battle Against Rock Censorship Became a Transformation of Voting Among American Youth". Rock & Roll Library. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
    31. ^"Director's contribution to Chicano movement honored". Daily Bruin. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
    32. ^"The Eye". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 51. Nielsen Business Media. December 16, 2000. p. 84. ISSN 0006-2510.

    General sources[edit]

    • Soul Sacrifice: The Carlos Santana Story, Simon Leng, 2000
    • Space Between the Stars, Deborah Santana, 2004
    • Rolling Stone, "The Resurrection of Carlos Santana", Ben Fong Torres, 1972
    • New Musical Express, "Spirit of Santana". Chris Charlesworth, November 1973
    • Guitar Player Magazine, 1978
    • Rolling Stone, "The Epic Life of Carlos Santana", 2000
    • Santana I – Sony Legacy Edition: liner notes
    • Abraxas – Sony Legacy Edition: liner notes
    • Santana III – Sony Legacy edition: liner notes
    • Viva Santana – CBS CD release 1988; liner notes
    • Power, Passion and Beauty – The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra Walter Kolosky 2006
    • Best of Carlos Santana – Wolf Marshall 1996; introduction and interview

    Further reading[edit]

    • Leng, Simon (2000). Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story. London: Firefly Pub. ISBN .
    • McCarthy, Jim (2004). Voices of Latin Rock: The People and Events That Created This Sound (1st ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp. ISBN .
    • Molenda, Michael (ed.). Guitar Player Presents Carlos Santana, Backbeat Books, 2010, 124 pp., ISBN 978-0-87930-976-3
    • Remstein, Henna. Carlos Santana (Latinos in the Limelight), Chelsea House Publications, 2001, 64 pp., ISBN 0-7910-6473-5
    • Santana, Deborah (King); Miller, Hal; Faulkner, John (ed.), with a foreword by Bill Graham. Santana: A Retrospective of the Santana Band's Twenty Years in Music, San Francisco Mission Cultural Center, 1987, 50 pp., no ISBN. OCLC 77798816 Includes a 4-p genealogical tree w/the member's name for every Santana band from 1966. Copy at SFPL
    • Santana, Deborah (King) (March 1, 2005). Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart (1st ed.). New York: One World/Ballantine Books. ISBN .
    • Shapiro, Marc (2000). Carlos Santana: Back on Top. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN .
    • Slavicek, Louise Chipley (2006). Carlos Santana. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN .
    • Sumsion, Michael. Maximum Santana: The Unauthorized Biography of Santana, Chrome Dreams, 2003, ISBN 1-84240-107-6. A CD-audio biog
    • Weinstein, Norman (2009). Carlos Santana: A Biography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press. ISBN .
    • Woog, Adam (2007). Carlos Santana: Legendary Guitarist. Detroit: Lucent Books. ISBN .

    External links[edit]


    B.B. King is the undisputed master of the blues.

    He redefined the electric guitar and totally changed the way that it was played. He introduced techniques and a style of playing that was wildly different to anything that came before. In doing so, he had a profound impact not just on the blues, but also on rock music, and all of the later genres that were born out of rock. It is little exaggeration to say that every guitarist in the modern era – regardless of the genre that they play – owes a debt to B.B. King.

    Even today – over 70 years after B.B. King’s career began – there is so much that we can learn from studying King’s approach to the blues. This ranges from the nuances of his technique, to his approach to soloing, to the mindset that made him not just an amazing guitarist, but one of the most beloved musicians of all time.

    In fact, there is so much that we can learn from B.B. King, that this list barely scratches the surface. But here I have tried to highlight the key characteristics and traits that made King such a brilliant blues guitarist. I hope this helps you to learn from him and develop your own playing.

    So without further ado, here are 10 lessons you can learn from B.B. King:

    1.) Master The B.B. Box

    The B.B. Box is one of the most distinctive elements of B.B. King’s playing. In essence, it is a six note scale that King created. It features a lot in his playing, and so including it in your solos and improvisations is crucial if you want to capture a bit of that B.B. bb king guitar lesson. The B.B. box is based around the following notes of the major scale:

    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6

    It is a moveable shape that you can play all over the neck of your guitar. Typically though, King plays the B.B. box on the top 3 strings, with the 1 (root note) played on the B string. This is sell gift cards for cash near me the B.B. box looks like in the key of A:

    Here the root note (shown in red) is played at the 10th fret on the B string. The 6th note of the B.B. Box – which in the key of A is F# – is typically played on the string below the root note. In the diagram above, this is the 11th fret on the G string. However, you can also play it one octave higher, shown on the diagram above at the 14th fret on the E string.

    The beauty of the B.B. box is that it works when you play it over all of the chords in a major 12 bar pay my capital one card with a debit card. You can play it over the I, IV and V chords and it will sound equally effective over each part of the progression.

    This is not true over a minor blues progression. It is very difficult to use the B.B. Box effectively in a minor blues context. But if you want to add a slightly different flavour and some sophistication to your playing, you should definitely learn this scale.

    King uses the B.B. box in pretty much all of his lead playing. So stick on Live At The Regal or Live At Cook County Jail to hear how King uses the box when soloing. Alternatively, another great example can be heard on ‘Need Your Love So Bad’, by Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green was heavily influenced by King, and during the opening solo of the song he plays the B.B. box in the key of A (as above) to brilliant effect.

    2.) Float Like A Butterfly

    B.B. King’s ‘butterfly’ vibrato is exceptional. It is without question one of the most distinctive elements of his playing. When King first learnt the guitar, he wanted to imitate the sound of his cousin Bukka White, who was a slide guitar player. Using a slide allows you to play the micro tones in between notes, and to sustain notes for longer. It is a unique sound that closely mimics the human voice, and you can’t really replicate chase freedom credit card interest rate with a regular playing style. However, B.B. King managed to get very close through his use of vibrato.

    If you want to develop the same vibrato and create a similar sound to King, there are two key elements to focus on:

    The first is the placement of your fretting hand. A lot baby boy 1st birthday gift ideas blues guitarists grip the neck of their guitar hard with their thumb when they apply vibrato. B.B. King does the opposite. He shifts his hand away from the neck and puts all of the weight on to the finger that is applying the vibrato. The only point of contact he maintains with his guitar is his fretting finger. Other bluesmen like Eric Clapton adopt a similar technique. But typically Clapton and others only use this ‘floating’ vibrato style with their first finger. B.B. King is unique in that he almost always moves his hand off the neck, regardless of which finger he is using to apply vibrato.

    Adopting this style of vibrato is challenging enough using your index finger. But applying it with your ring and little fingers is very challenging. Stick with it though, as it is a key skill to develop if you want to sound like B.B. King.

    The second key characteristic of King’s vibrato is the pace at which he moves his left hand. The finger he uses to apply vibrato moves very quickly. It is almost like a trill, but executed just with a single finger.  Yet despite the speed at which King’s finger moves, his vibrato doesn’t actually move the string very much. He doesn’t alter the pitch of the notes drastically. Instead his vibrato adds sustain and feeling to his playing.

    To see King illustrating his distinctive vibrato in depth, watch this video from the 2.11 minute mark. It is one of the best instructional videos you can watch if you want to learn from B.B. King.

    3.) Develop Your Digits

    To execute this style of vibrato, you need to develop strength and dexterity across all of the fingers in your fretting hand. Bb king guitar lesson you watch videos of King, you will see that he uses all of his fingers when he is playing. Admittedly, he doesn’t often bend with all four fingers, but he certainly doesn’t neglect his little finger either. In fact, it is one of the primary fingers that he uses to slide up the neck and change positions. This sets him apart from a huge number of blues guitarists, famous or otherwise.

    A lot of bluesmen neglect their little finger when they are learning to play, and then they struggle to break that habit as they advance. So they end up playing just using three fingers. This then becomes a bit of a handicap, as having strength and dexterity in all of your fingers helps you to play quicker, reach notes more easily and voice more complex chords.

    In addition to playing with all four fingers, King has a lot of strength in each of his fingers. Like Albert King, he often plays big bends of more than one tone. He also executes a lot of full tone bends using just his index finger. This is something that most players struggle to do, but it’s a skill worth learning. It will give you greater freedom to move around the neck, and to add bends and embellishments to all of the notes you want, rather than just to those that you are physically able.

    Head to the 14.20 minute mark of this video, to learn from B.B. Bank of america alaska visa login directly and see how he bends with his index finger, as well as navigates the fretboard with all four fingers.

    4.) Make Life Easy On Yourself

    In addition to his finger strength, part of what helped King hit big bends was his choice of guitar strings.

    Amongst blues guitarists there is a long held belief that you need to play thick guitar strings if you want a sweet blues tone. This belief has been perpetuated by Stevie Ray Vaughan, who famously played 0.13 gauge strings.

    Whilst it is true that in many ways your tone will benefit from using heavier strings, it doesn’t guarantee good tone. In fact, playing with heavy strings causes problems for a lot of players. This is because using heavy gauge strings makes volunteer state bank mobile app more challenging. It makes it more difficult to execute bends and apply vibrato effectively. Tone starts in your hands, and if you can’t play properly, your tone is never going to be good, even if everything else in your rig is perfect. 

    This is an approach that King adopted early in his career. He played 0.10-0.54 gauge strings and now has his own set of  Signature Gibson strings, should you want to try them out. During his career, he also urged others to consider using lighter strings too. As Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top once recalled:

    I, too, once believed in the heavier gauge string as a superior tone source…However, thanks to the graciousness of B.B. King I learned that a lighter gauge string offers superior playing comfort…Try it. You may like it.

    Long story short, don’t feel compelled to play super heavy strings in search of tone. Learn from B.B. King and make sure that you are never sacrificing comfort or playability in your quest for better tones.

    5.) Stop Spending

    B.B. King once said that, “Notes are expensive, spend them wisely.” It is one of my favourite quotes from any guitarist. And it is a quote that perfectly sums up King’s restrained approach to playing. He never plays for the sake of it, and there are very few – if any – wasted notes in his solos.

    It is not easy to play in this way. In fact there is a common misconception that playing only a handful of notes at a slower tempo is simple. Yet as British blues guitarist Matt Schofield argues so convincingly:

    To do something simple very well – to get rid of all of the fluff and nonsense – and to just cut it down to the basic essence, is much harder to do, than to be all over the (neck). There are a million guys who can do that…

    Leaving space between notes is not something that comes naturally to most guitarists. And so it is certainly easier said than done. But if you want to play like B.B. King, you need to exercise restraint when you are soloing. So when you are next practicing your soloing or improvising, try and play 50% less than you would normally. Just focus on the key phrases that you want to express and on the quality of your playing. It will feel strange at first, but your soloing will improve dramatically over time if you keep practicing in this way.

    6.) Bend Like B.B.

    Arguably, B.B. King was the first guitarist to take bending to a new level on the guitar. And this is why his impact on the instrument is so profound. Prior to King, bluesmen like T-Bone Walker had played around with small quarter note bends and blues curls. But King really kicked things up a notch, crafting a very vocal and expressive playing style through his use of bends.

    In fact, King never holds back on his bending. There are very few notes that King plays that he doesn’t embellish with a little curl or a quarter bend. And he combines that with semi-tone bends, full tone bends, one and a half tone bends, pre-bends, etc etc.

    The result is a very developed and sophisticated bending style. Just look at this opening passage from King’s song ‘Lucille’:

    Even within this short passage King implements a whole range of nuanced bends. Copying this element of his playing is not easy. But to get closer to playing like the ‘King of the Blues’, really focus on your string bending technique. It will make you a much better blues guitarist.

    7.) Start A Conversation

    Trying to recreate King’s playing style is extremely difficult. From his note choice, to his spacing, to his use of dynamics – every element of his soloing is just so advanced. And tackling all of the nuances of his playing in one go can at first seem a bit daunting.

    One trick to help you with this, is to start thinking of your guitar as an extension of your voice. King constantly hancock bank login business playing a guitar solo with having a conversation. This might sound a bit odd, but for King, the analogy helped to define his approach to lead guitar. And when you think about it, there are strong parallels between a conversation and a guitar solo:

    In a conversation you have to pause for breath between words. If you talk non-stop at someone, it is very difficult to land your point and very easy to overwhelm your audience. The same is true of a guitar solo. Your solo will have more impact if you pause between phrases and don’t fill it with an endless stream of notes.

    When speaking, you place more emphasis on some words than others. It is very unusual to speak at one volume; you naturally raise and lower your voice to bring attention to the key parts of your speech. This is the same as using dynamics in your lead playing. You can’t just play at one volume; you need to adjust your playing to focus attention on the key passages you want to highlight.

    If you were telling a story to entertain friends, you would pace it correctly. You would slow down in some parts, pause, and add emphasis where needed. Then you would build the story to the punch line, where you would really hammer the message home. You can treat your guitar solo in the same way, starting slow and building it to a powerful conclusion.

    The analogies go on and on. So when you are trying to capture the essence of King’s playing, keep returning to this idea. It will really help to keep you on track and will greatly improve your lead playing.

    8.) Find Your Roots

    Eric Clapton once said of B.B. King: “I can tell B.B. from just one note. Most of us can, I think.” And it is absolutely true. King has a way of captivating you with very simple phrases, often using just a handful of notes.

    One particular note to which King regularly returns is the root note. It is a simple technique, but one that King uses to great effect. He hits the root note, applies his signature vibrato and just lets it ring google play store gift card codes india. Either that, or he jumps up an octave (or sometimes more) to hit the root note, but in a higher register on the guitar. This is one of King’s classic moves and is instantly recognisable. You can hear this on a lot of his songs, but it is illustrated nicely in the opening solo of Guess Who.

    To rely so heavily on the root note might feel odd at first. Often guitarists will try to avoid the root note, because it can easily be smothered by the root chord. Yet King proves that if you pick root notes in different registers and play with them with passion and the right touch, it can sound amazing.

    9.) Live The Simple Life

    Like many of the early bluesmen, B.B. King didn’t have a whole array of different guitars, amps and pedals. He relied on his trusty Lucille (a Gibson Es-355 without F holes) and either a Gibson Lab L5 amp, a Fender Super Reverb or a Fender Custom Twin Reverb. By the standards of most guitarists today, his rig was very simplistic. Yet he created a beautiful blues tone that countless blues players have since tried to replicate.

    Whilst it is overly simplistic to dismiss the effect that gear can have on your tone, if you spend more time looking at new guitars and pedals online than you do practicing, it might be worth adjusting your priorities.

    I know that G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) is no laughing matter. We’ve all suffered with it and we’ve all spent too much time looking at new gear we either don’t need, or can’t afford. But learn from B.B. King and adopt a simple approach. Find a set up that works for you, treat it with love and care and then focus on creating the most beautiful tones that you can. Whether you decide to name your guitar and dedicate a song to it is up to you…;)

    10.) Never Stop Learning

    It would be remiss of me to write an article like this on B.B. King, and not cover his philosophy and approach to the blues. If you have ever seen any videos of King, then you will know that he possessed a simple but very profound wisdom. The depths of this wisdom are too great to explore here, but as it pertains to being a better blues guitar player, I believe there are two key lessons you can learn from B.B. King.

    The first, nsb housing loan interest rate that you need to feel the blues. This is not something that you can capture through a particular technique or by using certain phrasing. It is something that goes much deeper than that. Often, the notes that B.B. King plays are not technically difficult. But he plays them with such soul and feeling, that they strike to the very hearts of his listeners. His guitar playing truly epitomises what the blues is all about.

    Focus intensely on the quality of your playing at all times. One note played well and with feeling is better than ten that are rushed and conveyed without emotion. If you keep that in mind, then you will become a much better blues guitarist.

    The second lesson is less technical, but equally important. And this is to remain open minded and always willing to learn. Despite being lauded as ‘The King of the Blues’, King always remained humble. He was open about his weaknesses as a musician – reportedly describing himself as being “horrible with chords” at a late stage in his career – and he remained consistent in his quest to become a better guitarist. Adopt the same mindset. Enjoy the process of improvement, be open to instruction and new ideas and you will become an infinitely better musician.


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    There are those who believed that BB King wasn’t the world’s greatest guitar player, including the man himself. In a recent interview he said:

    I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man. Well, that’s because there’s been so many can do it better'n I can, play the blues better'n me.

    And his musical vocabulary was limited; King once told Bono: “I’m no good with chords, so what we do is, uh, get somebody else to play chords… I’m horrible with chords”. He even claimed that he couldn’t play and sing at the same time.

    Speaking as someone who used to teach guitar, I would agree that BB King wasn’t a particularly technical player. Although he was one of the first guitarists to have hits with single-note electric blues solos, he was followed by a wave of more proficient and versatile practitioners, prominent among them Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    Despite this, he continued to play to packed houses well into his 80s and remains one of the most loved and respected guitarists in music history. So what was it about King’s playing that has captivated me and so many others? I think the answer lies the way he never played perfectly in tune.

    Blue notes

    Like most blues players, King based many of his phrases and licks on the minor pentatonic scale, which is a simple “box shape” on the fingerboard that most electric guitarists learn very early in their careers. Indeed, box shapes are such a simple musical vocabulary that blues guitarists often don’t even need to know the names of the notes they’re playing (in my experience, this fact often comes as a shock to classical musicians).

    The minor pentatonic scale – and its close cousin the blues scale – works by omitting some steps from the full minor scale. This simplifies the melodic choices available to the soloist, effectively limiting the musical vocabulary of the melody. But it’s this melodic constraint that I think gave BB King’s playing the opportunity to develop its majestic and expressive style. He was what I like to call a microtonal guitarist – his solos were made more expressive by bending the notes slightly out of tune.

    King’s seventh-to-octave licks were sometimes slightly flat, his fifths would sometimes slowly drift toward the note as the string bend was pushed from the note below, and – most importantly – he was a lifelong student of the mysterious “blues third”, the note that can be found somewhere in the cracks between the third step of the minor and major scale.

    King’s thirds could be wayward, mischievous, reflective, reckless, argumentative, morose, pensive or accusatory. Take a listen to his performance from Montreux in 1993. At [0:29] the third is sharp, brazenly drawing attention to itself as an almost-wrong E-natural against the brass section’s A flat chord. At [1:21] it’s right in the middle of the cracks, starting angrily on the full minor third and quickly bending upward as the titular “thrill” ride disappears down the road, speeding away from the lyric’s lonely protagonist. At [1:49] there’s a seven-note lick where every note is slightly out of tune, and the thirds drift between major and minor intervals in a way that, to me, resembles the fluctuations of a human voice – followed by an almost silent final minor third, the upward string bend resembling nothing less than an intake of breath.

    This is what BB King fans mean when they say he’s speaking through the guitar. The irregularities in his tuning are more than just a stylistic feature – they are the way he communicates musically. The blues genre’s simple chords and predictable note choices are not the point of the performance; they’re just the shape of the picture frame through which King’s artistry can be seen.

    And while that agonised “blues face” he pulls when he up-bends a string may be partly showmanship, it is also representative of the incredibly subtle and difficult judgement a great blues player has to make as the string bend approaches the perfectly expressive out-of-tune note.

    Still not convinced? Think my analysis represents the over-constructed ramblings of a grieving electric blues fan? Have a listen to these three different King performances.

    In 3 o'clock blues (1952), the licks are brash and loud but the microtones are unsubtle, as the 26-year-old King ambitiously shows off his newly-minted technique to the world. In Sweet Little Angel (1964) we hear King the live showman at the height of his powers; the guitar licks respond dynamically to the crowd, as the pitching of the thirds reacts to the auditorium’s screams in real time. The 2006 recording of The Thrill is Gone shows King in his sunset years, with the occasional fluffed note but the microtones and dynamics more varied than ever – the confident maturity of an old man who knows his audience is hanging on his every note.

    BB King’s subtle string bends are the sound of a musician completely immersed in his communication medium, speaking a special and unique musical language that he has been inventing for a lifetime. The great man is gone, but his blue notes will live forever.


    BB King Quick Licks-3



    Tasty BB King licks to use in your blues guitar solos!
    Grab the free BB king quick licks tab book for this video here:

    BB King Quick Lick lesson #3

    In this BB King quick licks lesson you’ll learn a cool minor blues lick like something BB plays in ‘The Thrill Is Gone’. It’s typical of many BB King’s licks with it’s use of space, economy of notes and the sliding blues scale. Check out the recording of ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ to hear BB play licks like this and to get an overall picture of the classic BB King guitar style. Check out the other BB King licks in this video series too. Enjoy!

    Tasty BB King licks to use in your blues guitar solos!
    Grab the free BB king quick licks tab book for this video here:

    BB King, BB King licks, blues, Blues Guitar, blues guitar lick, guitar, guitar lesson, james shipway
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    Robert Johnson

    American blues musician (1911-1938)

    For other people named Robert Johnson, see Robert Johnson (disambiguation).

    Robert Johnson

    Studio portrait c. 1936, one of only three verified photographs of Johnson

    Studio portrait c. 1936, one of only three verified photographs of Johnson

    Birth nameRobert Leroy Johnson
    Born(1911-05-08)May 8, 1911
    Hazlehurst, Mississippi, U.S.
    DiedAugust 16, 1938(1938-08-16) (aged 27)
    Greenwood, Mississippi
    GenresBlues, Delta blues
    Years active1929–1938

    Musical artist

    Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues musician and songwriter. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. He is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly the Delta blues style.

    As a traveling performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime. He participated in only two recording sessions, one in San Antonio in 1936, and one in Dallas in 1937, that produced 29 distinct songs (with 13 surviving alternate takes) recorded by famed Country Music Hall of Fame producer Don Law. These songs, recorded at low fidelity in improvised studios, were the totality of his recorded output. Most were released as 10-inch, 78 rpmsingles from 1937–1938, with a few released after his death. Other than these recordings, very little was known of him during his life outside of the small musical circuit in the Mississippi Delta where he spent most of his life; much of his story has been reconstructed after his death by researchers. Johnson's poorly documented life and death have given rise to much legend. The one most closely associated with his life is that he sold his soul to the devil at a local crossroads to achieve musical success.

    His music had a small, but influential, following during his life and in the two decades after his death. In late 1938 John Hammond sought him out for a concert at Carnegie Hall, From Spirituals to Swing, only to discover that Johnson had died. Brunswick Records, which owned the original recordings, was bought by Columbia Records, where Hammond was employed. MusicologistAlan Lomax went to Mississippi in 1941 to record Johnson, also not knowing of his death. Law, who by then worked for Columbia Records, assembled a collection of Johnson's recordings titled King of the Delta Blues Singers that was released by Columbia in 1961. It is widely credited with finally bringing Johnson's work to a wider audience. The album would become influential, especially on the nascent British blues movement; Eric Clapton has called Johnson "the most important blues singer that ever lived." Musicians such as Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, and Robert Plant have cited both Johnson's lyrics and musicianship as key influences on their own work. Many of Johnson's songs have been covered over the years, becoming hits for other artists, and his guitar licks and lyrics have been borrowed by many later musicians.

    Renewed interest in Johnson's work and life led to a burst of scholarship starting in the 1960s. Much of what is known about him was reconstructed by researchers such as Gayle Dean Wardlow and Bruce Conforth, especially in their 2019 award-winning biography[2] of Johnson: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson (Chicago Review Press). Two films, the 1991 documentary The Search for Robert Johnson by John Hammond Jr., and a 1997 documentary, Can't You Hear the Wind Howl, the Life and Music of Robert Johnson, which included reconstructed scenes with Keb' Mo' as Johnson, were attempts to document his life, and demonstrated the difficulties arising from the scant historical record diario las americas clasificados rentas conflicting oral accounts. Over the years, the significance of Johnson and his music has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications, including the Rock and Roll, Grammy, and Blues Halls of Fame; and the National Recording Preservation Board.

    Life and career[edit]

    Early life[edit]

    Johnson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, possibly on May 8, 1911, to Julia Major Dodds (born October 1874) and Noah Johnson (born December 1884). Julia was married to Charles Dodds (born February 1865), a relatively prosperous landowner and furniture maker, with whom she had ten children. Charles Dodds had been forced by a lynch mob to leave Hazlehurst following a dispute with white landowners. Julia left Hazlehurst with baby Robert, but in less than two years she brought the boy to Memphis to live with her husband, who had changed his name to Charles Spencer. Robert spent the next 8–9 years growing up in Memphis and attending the Carnes Avenue Colored School where he received lessons in arithmetic, reading, language, music, geography, and physical exercise. It was in Memphis that he acquired his love for, and make a car payment capital one of, the blues and popular music. His education and urban context placed him apart from most of his contemporary blues musicians.

    Robert rejoined his mother around 1919–1920 after she married an illiterate sharecropper named Will "Dusty" Willis. They originally settled on a plantation in Lucas Township in Crittenden County, Arkansas, but soon moved across the Mississippi River to Commerce in the Mississippi Delta, near Tunica and Robinsonville. They lived on the Abbay & Leatherman Plantation.[6] Julia's new husband was 24 years her junior. Robert was remembered by some residents as "Little Robert Dusty", but he was registered at Tunica's Indian Creek School as Robert Spencer. In the 1920 census, he is listed as Robert Spencer, living in Lucas, Arkansas, with Will and Julia Willis. Robert was at school in 1924 and bb king guitar lesson The quality of his signature on his marriage certificate suggests that he was relatively well educated for a boy of his background. A school friend, Willie Coffee, who was interviewed and filmed in later life, recalled that as a youth Robert was already noted for playing the harmonica and jaw harp. Coffee recalled that Robert was absent for long periods, which suggests that he may have been living and studying in Memphis.

    Once Julia informed Robert about his biological father, Robert adopted the surname Johnson, using it on the certificate of his marriage to sixteen-year-old Virginia Travis in February 1929. She died in childbirth shortly green dot moneypak refill card. Surviving relatives of Virginia told the blues researcher Robert "Mack" McCormick that this was a divine punishment for Robert's decision to sing secular songs, known as "selling your soul to the Devil". McCormick believed that Johnson himself accepted the phrase as a description of his resolve to abandon the settled life of a husband and farmer to become a full-time blues musician.[13]

    Around this time, the blues musician Son House moved to Robinsonville, where his musical partner Willie Brown lived. Late in life, House remembered Johnson as a "little boy" who was a competent harmonica player but an embarrassingly bad guitarist. Soon after, Johnson left Robinsonville for the area around Martinsville, close to his birthplace, possibly searching for his natural father. Here he perfected the guitar style of House and learned other styles from Isaiah "Ike" Zimmerman. Zimmerman was rumored to have learned supernaturally to play guitar by visiting graveyards at midnight. When Johnson next appeared in Robinsonville, he seemed to have miraculously acquired a guitar technique. House was interviewed at a time when the legend of Johnson's pact with the devil was well known among blues researchers. He was asked whether he attributed Johnson's technique to this pact, and his equivocal answers have been taken as confirmation.

    While living in Martinsville, Johnson fathered a child with Vergie Mae Smith. He married Caletta Craft in May 1931. In 1932, the couple settled for a while in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the Delta, but Johnson soon left for a career as a "walking" or itinerant musician, and Caletta died in early 1933.

    Itinerant musician[edit]

    From 1932 until his death bank of america corporate perks 1938, Johnson moved frequently between the cities of Memphis and Helena, and the smaller towns of the Mississippi Delta and neighboring regions of Mississippi and Arkansas. On occasion, he traveled much bb king guitar lesson. The blues musician Johnny Shines accompanied him to Chicago, Texas, New York, Canada, Kentucky, and Indiana.[21]Henry Townsend shared a musical engagement with him in St. Louis. In many places he stayed with members of his large extended family or with female friends. He did not marry again but formed some long-term relationships with women to whom he would return periodically. In other places he stayed with whatever woman he was able to seduce at his performance. In each location, Johnson's hosts were largely ignorant of his life elsewhere. He used different names in different places, employing at least eight distinct surnames.

    Biographers have looked for consistency from musicians who knew Johnson in different contexts: Shines, who traveled extensively with him; Robert Lockwood, Jr., who knew him as his mother's partner; David "Honeyboy" Edwards, whose cousin Willie Mae Powell had a relationship with Johnson. From a mass of partial, conflicting, and inconsistent eyewitness accounts, biographers have attempted to summarize Johnson's character. "He was well mannered, he was soft spoken, he was indecipherable". "As for his character, everyone seems to agree that, while he was pleasant and outgoing in bb king guitar lesson, in private he was reserved and liked to go his own way". "Musicians who knew Johnson testified that he was a nice guy and fairly average—except, of course, for his musical talent, his weakness for whiskey and women, and his commitment to the road."

    When Johnson arrived in a new town, he would play for tips on street corners or in front of the local barbershop or a restaurant. Musical associates have said that in live performances Johnson often did not focus on his dark and complex original compositions, but instead pleased audiences by performing more well-known pop standards of the day[32] – and not necessarily blues. With an ability to pick up tunes at first hearing, he had no trouble giving his audiences what they wanted, and certain of his contemporaries later remarked on his interest in jazz and country music. He also had an uncanny ability to establish a rapport with his audience; in every town in which he stopped, he would establish ties to the local community that would serve him well when he passed through again a month or a year later.

    Shines was 20 when he met Johnson in 1936. He estimated Johnson was maybe a year older than himself (Johnson was actually four years older). Shines is quoted describing Johnson in Samuel Charters's Robert Johnson:

    Robert was a very friendly person, even though he was sulky at times, you know. And I hung around Robert for quite a while. One evening he disappeared. He was kind of a peculiar fellow. Robert'd be standing up playing some place, playing like nobody's business. At about that time it was a hustle with him as well as a pleasure. And money'd be coming from all directions. But Robert'd just pick up and walk off and leave you standing there playing. And you wouldn't see Robert no more maybe in two or three weeks. . So Robert and I, we began journeying off. I was just, matter of fact, tagging along.[33]

    During this time Johnson established what would be a relatively long-term relationship with Estella Coleman, a woman about 15 years his senior and the mother of the blues musician Robert Lockwood, Jr. Johnson reportedly cultivated a woman to look after him in each town he played in. He reputedly asked homely young women living in the country with their families whether he could go home with them, and in most cases, he was accepted, until a boyfriend arrived or Johnson was ready to move on.

    In 1941, Alan Lomax learned from Muddy Waters that Johnson had performed in the area around Clarksdale, Mississippi. By 1959, the historian Samuel Charters could add only that Will Shade, of the Memphis Jug Band, remembered Johnson had once briefly played with him in West Memphis, Arkansas. In the last year of his life, Johnson is believed to have traveled to St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. In 1938, Columbia Records producer John H. Hammond, who owned some of Johnson's records, directed record producer Don Law to seek out Johnson to book him for the first "From Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. On learning of Johnson's death, Hammond replaced him with Big Bill Broonzy, but he played two of Johnson's records from the stage.

    Recording sessions[edit]

    Main how to make t shirts and sell them online Robert Johnson recordings § Sessionography

    In Jackson, Mississippi, around 1936, Johnson sought out H. C. Speir, who ran a general store and also acted as a talent scout. Speir put Johnson in touch with Ernie Oertle, who, as a salesman for the ARC group of labels, introduced Johnson to Don Law to record his first sessions in San Antonio, Texas. The recording session was held on November 23–25, 1936, in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections and recorded alternate takes for most of them. Among the songs Johnson recorded in San Antonio were "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", "Sweet Home Chicago", and "Cross Road Blues", which later became blues standards. The first to be released was "Terraplane Blues", backed with "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", which sold as many as 10,000 copies.

    Johnson traveled to Dallas, Texas, for another recording session with Don Law in a makeshift studio at the Vitagraph (Warner Bros.) Building,[39] on June 19–20, 1937. Johnson recorded almost half of the 29 songs that make up his entire discography in Dallas and eleven records from this session were released within the following year. Most of Johnson's "somber and introspective" songs and performances come from his second recording session. Johnson did two takes of most of these songs, and recordings of those takes survived. Because of this, there is more opportunity to compare different performances of a single song by Johnson than for any other blues performer of his time and place. In contrast to most Delta players, Johnson had absorbed the idea of fitting a composed song into the three minutes of a 78-rpm side.


    Johnson died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi, of unknown causes. His death was not reported publicly; he merely disappeared from the historical record and it was not until almost 30 years later, when Gayle Dean Wardlow, a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson's life, found his death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death. No formal autopsy was done; instead, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that bb&t and suntrust merger charlotte have been a contributing factor in his death. However, 30 years of local legend and oral tradition had, like the rest of his life story, built a legend which has filled in gaps in the scant historical record.[44]

    Several differing accounts have described the events preceding his death. Johnson had been playing for a few weeks at a country dance in a town about 15 miles (24 km) from Greenwood. According to one theory, Johnson was murdered by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted. In an account by the blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson, Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, and she gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband. When Johnson took the bottle, Williamson knocked it out of his hand, admonishing him to never drink from a bottle that he had not personally seen opened. Johnson replied, "Don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand." Soon after, he was offered another (poisoned) bottle and accepted it. Johnson is reported to have begun feeling ill the evening after and had to be helped back to his room in the early morning hours. Over the next three days his condition steadily worsened. Witnesses reported that he died in a convulsive state of severe pain. The musicologistRobert "Mack" McCormick claimed to have tracked down the man who murdered Johnson and to have obtained a confession from him in a personal interview, but he declined to reveal the man's name.[13]

    While strychnine has been suggested as the poison that killed Johnson, at least one scholar has disputed the notion. Tom Graves, in his book Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson, relies on expert testimony from toxicologists to argue that strychnine has such a distinctive odor and taste that it cannot be disguised, even in strong liquor. Graves also claims that a significant amount of strychnine would have to be consumed in one sitting to be fatal, and that death from the poison would occur within hours, not days.[45]

    In their 2019 book Up Jumped the Devil, Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow suggest that the poison was naphthalene, from dissolved mothballs. This was "a common way of poisoning people in the rural South", but was rarely fatal. However, Johnson had been diagnosed with an ulcer and with esophageal varices, and the poison was sufficient to cause them to hemorrhage. He died after two days of severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding from the mouth.

    The LeFlore County registrar, Cornelia Jordan, years later and after conducting an investigation into Johnson's death for the state director of vital statistics, State bank of cross plains. N. Whitfield, wrote a clarifying note on the back of Johnson's death certificate:

    I talked with the white man on whose place this negro died and I also talked with a negro woman on the place. The plantation owner said the negro man, seemingly about 26 years old, came from Tunica two or three weeks before he died to play banjo at a negro dance given there on the plantation. He stayed in the house with some of the negroes saying he wanted to pick cotton. The white man did not have a doctor for this negro as he had not worked for him. He was buried in a homemade coffin furnished by the county. The plantation owner said it was his opinion that the man died of syphilis.[47]

    In 2006, a medical practitioner, David Connell, suggested, on the basis of photographs showing Johnson's "unnaturally long fingers" and "one bad eye", that Johnson may have had Marfan syndrome, which could have both affected his guitar playing and contributed to his death due to aortic dissection.


    Alleged gravesite at Payne Chapel near Quito, with one of Johnson's three tombstones

    The exact location of Johnson's grave is officially unknown; three different markers have been erected at possible sites in church cemeteries outside Greenwood.

    • Research in the 1980s and 1990s strongly suggests Johnson was buried in the graveyard of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church near Morgan City, Mississippi, not far from Greenwood, in an unmarked grave. A one-ton cenotaph in the shape of an obelisk, listing all of Johnson's song titles, with a central inscription by Peter Guralnick, was placed at this location in 1990, paid for by Columbia Records and numerous smaller contributions made through the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund.
    • In 1990, a small marker with the epitaph "Resting in the Blues" was placed in the cemetery of Payne Chapel, near Quito, Mississippi, by an Atlanta rock group named the Tombstones, after they saw a photograph in Living Blues magazine of an unmarked spot alleged by one of Johnson's ex-girlfriends to be Johnson's burial site.
    • More recent research by Stephen LaVere (including statements from Rosie Eskridge, the wife of the supposed gravedigger, in 2000) indicates that the actual grave site is under a big pecan tree in the cemetery of the Little Zion Church, north of Greenwood along Money Road. Through LaVere, Sony Music placed a marker at this site, which bears LaVere's name as well as Johnson's. Researchers Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow also concluded this was Johnson's resting place in their 2019 biography.

    John Hammond, Jr., in the documentary The Search for Robert Johnson (1991), suggests that owing to poverty and lack of transportation Johnson is most likely to have been buried in a pauper's grave (or "potter's field") very near where he died.

    Devil legend[edit]

    According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. One of the legends often told sears national customer service phone number that Johnson was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. (There are claims for at least a dozen other sites as the location of the crossroads.)[citation needed] There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This story of a deal with the Devil at the crossroads mirrors the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

    Various accounts[edit]

    This legend was developed over time and has been chronicled by Gayle Dean Wardlow, Edward Komara and Elijah Wald, who sees the legend as largely dating from Johnson's rediscovery by white fans more than two decades after his death.Son House once told the story to Pete Welding as an explanation of Johnson's astonishingly rapid mastery of the guitar. Welding reported it as a serious belief in a widely read article in Down Beat in 1966.[citation needed] Other interviewers failed to elicit any confirmation from House and there were fully two years between House's observation of Johnson as first a novice and then a master.

    Further details were absorbed from the imaginative retellings by Greil Marcus and Robert Palmer. Most significantly, the detail was added that Johnson received his gift from a large black man at a crossroads. There is dispute as to how and when the crossroads detail was attached to the Robert Johnson story. All the published evidence, including a full chapter on the subject in the biography Crossroads, by Tom Graves, suggests an origin in the story of the blues musician Tommy Johnson. This story was collected from his musical associate Ishman Bracey and his elder brother Ledell in the 1960s. One version of Ledell Johnson's account was published in David Evans's 1971 biography of Tommy Johnson, and was repeated in print in 1982 alongside House's story in the widely read Searching for Robert Johnson, by Peter Guralnick.

    In another version, Ledell placed the meeting not at a crossroads but in a graveyard. This resembles the story told to Steve LaVere that Ike Zimmerman of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, learned to play the guitar at midnight while sitting on tombstones. Zimmerman is believed to have influenced the playing of the young Johnson.

    The crossroads at Clarksdale, Mississippi

    Recent research by the blues scholar Bruce Conforth, in Living Blues magazine, makes the story clearer. Johnson and Ike Zimmerman did practice in a graveyard at night, because it was quiet and no one would disturb them, but it was not the Hazlehurst cemetery as had been believed: Zimmerman was not from Hazlehurst but nearby Beauregard, and he did not practice in one graveyard, but in several in the area.[60] Johnson spent about a year living with and learning from Zimmerman, who ultimately accompanied Johnson back to the Delta to look after him.

    While Dockery, Hazlehurst and Beauregard have each been claimed as the locations of the mythical crossroads, there are also tourist attractions claiming to be "The Crossroads" in both Clarksdale and Memphis. Residents of Rosedale, Mississippi, claim Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the intersection of Highways 1 and 8 in their town, while the 1986 movie Crossroads was filmed in Beulah, Mississippi. The blues historian Steve Cheseborough wrote that it may be impossible to discover the exact location of the mythical crossroads, because "Robert Johnson was a rambling guy".


    Some scholars have argued that the devil in these songs may refer not only to the Christian figure of Satan but also to the trickster god of African origin, Legba, himself associated with crossroads. Folklorist Harry M. Hyatt wrote that, during his research in the South from 1935 to 1939, when African-Americans born in the 19th or early 20th century said they or anyone else had "sold their soul to the devil at the crossroads", they had a different meaning in mind. Hyatt claimed there was evidence indicating African religious retentions surrounding Legba and the making of a "deal" (not selling the soul in the same sense as in the Faustian tradition cited by Graves) with the so-called devil at the crossroads.

    The Blues and the Blues singer has really special powers over women, especially. It is said that the Blues singer could possess women and have any woman they wanted. And so when Robert Johnson came back, having left his community as an apparently mediocre musician, with a clear genius in his guitar style and lyrics, people said he must have sold his soul to the devil. And that fits in with this old African association with the crossroads where you find wisdom: you go down to the crossroads to learn, and in his case to learn in a Faustian pact, with the devil. You sell your soul to become the greatest musician in history.[64]

    This view that the devil in Johnson's songs is derived from an African deity was disputed by the blues scholar David Evans in an essay published in 1999, what is an online id bank of america the Blues":

    There are . several serious problems with this crossroads myth. The devil imagery found in the blues is thoroughly familiar from western folklore, and nowhere do blues singers ever mention Legba or any other African deity in their songs or other lore. The actual African music connected with cults of Legba and similar trickster deities sounds nothing like the blues, but rather features polyrhythmic percussion and choral call-and-response singing.[65]

    The musicologist Alan Lomax dismissed the myth, stating, "In fact, every blues fiddler, banjo picker, harp blower, piano strummer and guitar framer was, in the opinion of both himself and his peers, a child of the Devil, a consequence of the black view of the European dance embrace as sinful in the extreme".

    Musical style[edit]

    Johnson is considered a master of the blues, particularly of the Delta blues style. Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, said in 1990, "You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it". But according to Elijah Wald, in his book Escaping the Delta, Johnson in his own time was most respected for his ability to play in a wide range of styles, from raw country slide guitar to jazz and pop licks, and for his ability to pick up guitar parts almost instantly upon hearing a song. His first recorded song, "Kind Hearted Woman Blues", in contrast to the prevailing Delta style of the time, more resembled the style of Chicago or St. Louis, with "a full-fledged, abundantly varied musical arrangement". The song was part of a cycle of spin-offs and response songs that began with Leroy Carr's "Mean Mistreater Mama" (1934). According to Wald, it was "the most musically complex in the cycle" and stood apart from most rural blues as a thoroughly composed lyric, rather than an arbitrary collection of more or less unrelated verses. Unusual for a Delta player of the time, a recording exhibits what Johnson could do entirely outside of a blues style. "They're Red Hot", from his first recording session, shows that he was also comfortable with an "uptown" swing or ragtime sound similar to that of the Harlem Hamfats, but as Wald remarked, "no record company was heading to Mississippi in search of a down-home Ink Spots . [H]e could undoubtedly have come up with a lot more songs in this style if the producers had wanted them."

    To the uninitiated, Johnson's recordings may sound like just another dusty Delta blues musician wailing away. But a careful listen reveals that Johnson was a revisionist in his time . Johnson's tortured soul vocals and anxiety-ridden guitar playing aren't found in the cotton-field blues of his contemporaries.[73]

    —Marc Myers


    An important aspect of Johnson's singing was his use of microtonality. These subtle inflections of pitch help explain why his singing conveys such powerful emotion. Eric Clapton described Johnson's music as "the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice". In two takes of "Me and the Devil Blues" he shows a high degree of precision in the complex vocal delivery of the last verse: "The range of tone he can pack into a few lines is astonishing." The song's "hip humor and sophistication" is often overlooked. "[G]enerations of blues writers in search of wild Delta primitivism", wrote Wald, have been inclined to overlook or undervalue aspects that show Johnson as a polished professional performer.

    Johnson is also known for using the guitar as "the other vocalist in the song", a technique later perfected by B.B. King and his personified guitar named Lucille: "In Africa and in Afro-American tradition, there is the tradition of the talking instrument, beginning with the drums . the one-strand and then the six-strings with bottleneck-style performance; it becomes a competing voice . or a complementary voice . in the performance."[64]

    When Johnson started singing, he seemed like a guy who could have sprung from the head of Zeus in full armor. I immediately differentiated between him and anyone else I had ever heard. The songs weren't customary blues songs. They were so utterly fluid. At first they went by quick, too quick to even get. They jumped all over the place in range and subject matter, short punchy verses that resulted in some panoramic story-fires of mankind blasting off the surface of this spinning piece of plastic.[76]

    —Bob Dylan


    See also: Robert Johnson’s guitars

    Johnson mastered bb king guitar lesson guitar, being considered today one of the all-time greats on the instrument. His approach was complex and musically advanced. When Keith Richards was first introduced to Johnson's music by his bandmate Brian Jones, he asked, "Who is the other guy playing with him?", not realizing it was Johnson playing one guitar. "I was hearing two guitars, and it took a long time to actually are pickles good for you during pregnancy he was doing it all by himself",[77] said Richards, who later stated that "Robert Johnson was like an orchestra all by himself".[73] "As for his guitar technique, it's politely reedy but ambitiously eclectic—moving effortlessly from hen-picking and bottleneck slides to a full deck of chucka-chucka rhythm figures."[73]


    In The Story with Dick Gordon, Bill Ferris, of American Public Media, said, "Robert Johnson I think of in the same way I think of the British Romantic poets, Keats and Shelley, who burned out early, who were geniuses at wordsmithing poetry . The Blues, if anything, are deeply sexual. You know, 'my car doesn't run, I'm gonna check my oil . 'if you don't like my apples, don't shake my tree'. Every verse has sexuality associated with it."[64]


    Johnson fused approaches specific to Delta blues to those from the broader music world. The slide guitar work on "Ramblin' on My Mind" is pure Delta and Johnson's vocal there has "a touch of . Son House rawness", but the train imitation on the bridge is not at all typical of Delta blues—it is more like something out of minstrel show music or vaudeville. Johnson did record versions of "Preaching the Blues" and "Walking Blues" in the older bluesman's vocal and guitar style (House's chronology has been questioned by Guralnick). As with the first take of "Come On in My Kitchen", the influence of Skip James is evident in James's "Devil Got My Woman", but the lyrics rise to the level of first-rate poetry, and Johnson sings with a strained voice found nowhere else in his recorded output.

    The sad, romantic "Love in Vain" successfully blends several of Johnson's disparate influences. The form, including the wordless last verse, follows Leroy Carr's last hit "When the Sun Goes Down"; the words of the last sung verse come directly from a song Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded in 1926. Wells fargo hours near me last recording, "Milkcow's Calf Blues" is his most direct tribute to Kokomo Arnold, who wrote "Milkcow Blues" and influenced Johnson's vocal style.

    "From Four Until Late" shows Johnson's mastery of a blues style not usually associated with the Delta. He croons the lyrics in a manner reminiscent of Lonnie Johnson, and his guitar style is more that of a ragtime-influenced player like Blind Blake. Lonnie Johnson's influence is even clearer in two other departures from the usual Delta style: "Malted Milk" and "Drunken Hearted Man". Both copy the arrangement of Lonnie Johnson's "Life Saver Blues". The two takes of "Me and the Devil Blues" show the influence of Peetie Wheatstraw, calling into question the interpretation of this piece as "the spontaneous heart-cry of a demon-driven folk artist".


    Early recognition and reviews[edit]

    Famed producer John Hammond was an early advocate of Johnson's music. Using the pen-name Henry Johnson, he wrote his first article on Robert Johnson for the New Masses magazine in March 1937, around the time of the release of Johnson's first record. In it, he described Johnson as "the greatest Negro blues singer who has cropped up in recent years . Johnson makes Leadbelly sound like an accomplished poseur." The following year, Hammond hoped to get Johnson to perform at a December 1938 From Spirituals to Swing concert in New York City, as he was unaware that Johnson had died in August. Instead, Hammond played two of his recordings, "Walkin' Blues" and "Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)", for the audience and "praised Johnson lavishly from the stage". Music historian Ted Gioia noted "Here, if only through the medium of recordings, Hammond used his considerable influence at this historic event to advocate a position of preeminence for the late Delta bluesman". Music educator James Perone also saw that the event "underscored Robert Johnson's specific importance as a recording artist". In 1939, Columbia issued a final single, pairing "Preachin' Blues" with "Love in Vain".

    In 1942, commentary on Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" was included in The Jazz Record Book, edited by Charles Edward Smith. The authors described Johnson's vocals as "imaginative" and "thrilling" and his guitar playing as "exciting as almost anything in the folk blues field". Music writer Rudi Blesh included a review of Johnson's "Hellhound on My Trail" in his 1946 book Shining Trumpets: a History of Jazz. He noted the "personal and creative way" Johnson approached the song's harmony. Jim Wilson, then a writer for the Detroit Free Press, also mentioned his unconventional use of harmony. In a 1949 review, he compared elements of John Lee Hooker's recent debut "Boogie Chillen": "His [Hooker's] dynamic rhythms and subtle nuances on the guitar and his startling disregard for familiar scale and harmony patterns show similarity to the work of Robert Johnson, who made many fine records in this vein."

    Samuel Charters drew further attention to Johnson in a five-page section in his 1959 book, The Country Blues. He focused on the two Johnson recordings that referred to images of the devil or hell – "Hellhound on My Trail" and "Me and the Devil Blues" – to suggest that Johnson was a deeply troubled individual. Charters also included Johnson's "Preachin' Blues" on the album published alongside his book. Columbia Records' first album of Johnson's recordings, King of the Delta Blues Singers, was issued two years later.


    Johnson is mentioned as one of the Delta artists who was a strong influence on blues singers in post-war styles. However, it is Johnson's guitar technique that is often identified as his greatest contribution. Blues historian Edward Komara wrote:

    The execution of a driving bass beat on a plectrum instrument like the guitar (instead what is an online id bank of america the piano) is Johnson's most influential accomplishment . This is the aspect of his music that most changed the Delta blues practice and is most retained in the blues guitar tradition.

    This technique has been called a "boogie bass pattern" or "boogie shuffle" and is described as a "fifth–sixth [degrees does bank of america refinance student loans a major scale] oscillation above the root chord". Sometimes, it has been attributed to Johnnie Temple, because he was the first to record a song in 1935 using it. However, Temple confirmed that he had learned the technique from Johnson: "He was the first one I ever heard use it . It was similar to a piano boogie bass [which] I learned from R. L. [Johnson] in '32 or '33."Johnny Shines added: "Some of the things that Robert did with the guitar affected the way everybody played. In the early thirties, boogie was rare on the guitar, something to be heard." Conforth and Wardlow call it "one of the most important riffs in blues music" and music historian Peter Guralnick believes Johnson "popularized a mode [walking bass style on guitar] which would rapidly become the accepted pattern". Although author Elijah Wald recognizes Johnson's contribution in popularizing the innovation, he discounts its importance and adds, "As far as the evolution of black music goes, Robert Johnson was an extremely minor figure, and very little that happened in the decades following his death would have been affected if he had never played a note".


    Johnson's contemporaries, including Johnny Shines, Johnnie Temple, Henry Townsend, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Calvin Frazier, and David "Honeyboy" Edwards were among those who kept his music alive through performing his songs and using his guitar techniques. Fellow Mississippi native Elmore James is the best known and is responsible for popularizing Johnson's "Dust My Broom". In 1951, he recast the song as a Chicago-style blues, with electric slide guitar and a backing band. According to blues historian Gerard Herhaft:

    Johnson's influence upon Elmore James's music always remained powerful: his falsetto voice, almost shrill, and the intensive use of the "walking" bass notes of the boogie-woogie, several pieces of James' repertoire were borrowed from Johnson (e.g, "Dust My Broom", "Rambling on My Mind", and "Crossroads").

    James' version amazon prime visa apple pay identified as "one of the first recorded examples of what was to become the classic Chicago shuffle beat". The style often associated with Chicago blues was used extensively by Jimmy Reed beginning with his first record "High and Lonesome" in 1953. Sometimes called "the trademark Reed shuffle" (although also associated his second guitarist, Eddie Taylor), it is the figure Johnson used updated for electric guitar.

    Blues standards[edit]

    Several of Johnson's songs is cinnamon sticks good for you blues standards, which is used to describe blues songs that have been widely performed and recorded over a period of time and are seen as having a lasting quality. Perone notes "That such a relatively high percentage of the songs attributed to him became blues standards also keeps the legacy of Robert Johnson alive." Those most often identified are "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Dust My Broom", but also include "Crossroads" and "Stop Breaking Down". As with many blues songs, there are melodic and lyrical precedents. While "Sweet Home Chicago" borrows from Kokomo Arnold's 1933 "Old Original Kokomo Blues", "Johnson's lyrics made the song a natural for Chicago bluesmen, and it's his version that survived in the repertoires of performers like Magic Sam, Robert Lockwood, and Junior Parker".

    In the first decades after Johnsons' death, these songs were recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson I (1945),Arthur Crudup (1949),[116] Elmore James (1951–1959), Baby Boy Warren (1954),[117]Roosevelt Sykes (1955),[118] Junior Parker (1958), and Forest City Joe (1959).[119] Pearson and McCulloch believe that "Sweet Home Chicago" and bb king guitar lesson My Broom" in particular connect Johnson to "the rightful inheritors of his musical ideas—big-city African American artists whose high-powered, electrically amplified blues remain solidly in touch with Johnson's musical legacy" at the time of Columbia's first release of a full album of his songs in 1961.

    In Jim O'Neal's statement when Johnson was inducted into the Blues FoundationBlues Hall of Fame, he identified "Hell Hound on My Trail", "Sweet Home Chicago", "Dust My Broom", "Love in Vain", and "Crossroads" as Johnson's classic recordings.[121] Over the years, these songs have been individually inducted into the Blues Hall's "Classic of Blues Recording – Single or Album Track" category.[122]

    Rock music[edit]

    In the mid-1950s, rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry adapted the boogie pattern on guitar for his songs "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode". Author Dave Rubin commented:

    his [Berry's] utilization of the bass-string cut-boogie patterns popularized by Robert Johnson on songs like "Sweet Home Chicago" . subtly altered the swing feel of the boogie blues into a more driving, straight 4/4 meter while still maintaining a limber lilt that is often missing in the countless imitations that followed.

    The pattern "became one of the signature figures in early electric guitar-based rock and roll, such as that of Chuck Berry and the numerous rock musicians of the 1960s who were influenced by Berry", according to Perone. Although music historian Larry Birnbaum also sees the connection, he wrote that Johnson's "contributions to the origins of rock 'n' roll are negligible". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Johnson as an early influence in its first induction ceremony, in 1986, almost a half century after his death. It also included four of his songs it deemed to have shaped the genre: "Sweet Home Chicago", "Cross Road Blues", "Hellhound on My Trail", and "Love in Vain".[125]Marc Meyers, of the Wall Street Journal, commented, "His 'Stop Breakin' Down Blues' from 1937 is so far ahead of its don jose pollos asados that the song could easily have been a rock demo cut in 1954."[73]

    Several rock artists describe Johnson as an influence:

    • Eric Clapton – "Robert Johnson to me is the most important blues musician td bank address wilmington delaware ever lived". He recorded several of Johnson's songs as well as an entire tribute album, Me and Mr. Johnson (2004).[127] Clapton feels that rather than trying to recreate Johnson's originals, "I was trying to extract as much emotional content from it as I could, while respecting the form at the same time."
    • Bob Dylan – "In about 1964 and '65, I probably used about five or six of Robert Johnson's blues song forms, too, unconsciously, but more on the lyrical imagery side of things. If I hadn't heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn't have felt free enough or upraised enough to write. [His] code of language was like nothing I'd heard before or since."
    • Robert Plant – "A lot of English musicians were very fired up by Robert Johnson [to] whom we all owe more or less our existence, I guess, in some way".[129]Led Zeppelin recorded "Traveling Riverside Blues" and quoted some of Johnson's lyrics in "The Lemon Song".[130]
    • Keith Richards – "I've never heard anybody before or since use the [blues] form and bend it so much to make it work for himself . he came out with such compelling themes [and] just the way they were treated, apart from the music and the performance, [was appealing]." The Rolling Stones recorded "Love in Vain" and "Stop Breaking Down".
    • Johnny Winter – "Robert Johnson knocked me out—he was a genius. [He and Son House] both were big influences on my acoustic slide playing." He recorded "Dust My Broom" with additional guitar by Derek Trucks.[134]

    Problems of biography[edit]

    The thing about Robert Johnson was that he only existed on his records. He was pure legend.

    –Martin Scorsese, Love in Vain: A Vision of Robert Johnson

    Until the 2019 publication of Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow's biography, Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson, little of Johnson's early life was known. Two marriage licenses for Johnson have been located in county records offices. The ages given in these certificates point to different birth dates, but Conforth and Wardlow suggest that Johnson lied about his age in order to obtain a marriage license. Carrie Thompson claimed that her mother, who was also Robert's mother, remembered his birth date as May 8, 1911. He was not listed among his mother's children in the 1910 census giving further credence to a 1911 birthdate. Although the 1920 census gives his age as 7, suggesting he was born in 1912 or 1913, the entry showing his attendance at Indian Creek School, in Tunica, Mississippi[when?] listed him as being 14 years old.[citation needed]

    Five significant dates from his career are documented: Monday, Thursday and Friday, November 23, 26, and 27, 1936, at a recording session in San Antonio, Texas; and Saturday and Sunday, June 19 and 20, 1937, at a recording session in Dallas. His death certificate, discovered in 1968, lists the date and location of his death.

    Johnson's records were admired by record collectors from the time of their first release, and efforts were made to discover his biography, with virtually no success. A relatively full account of Johnson's brief musical career emerged in the 1960s, largely from accounts by Son House, Johnny Shines, David Honeyboy Edwards and Robert Lockwood. In 1961, the sleeve notes to the album King of the Delta Blues Singers included reminiscences of Don Law who had recorded Johnson in 1936. Law added to the mystique surrounding Johnson, representing him as very young and extraordinarily shy.

    The blues researcher Mack McCormick began researching his family background in 1972, but died in 2015 without ever publishing his findings. McCormick's research eventually became as much a legend as Johnson himself. In 1982, McCormick permitted Peter Guralnick to publish a summary in Living Blues (1982), later reprinted in book form as Searching for Robert Johnson. Later research has sought to confirm this account or to add minor details. A revised summary acknowledging major informants was written by Stephen LaVere for the booklet accompanying Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings box set (1990). The documentary film The Search for Robert Johnson contains accounts by McCormick and Wardlow of what informants have told them: long interviews of David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Johnny Shines and short interviews of surviving friends and family. Another film, Can't You Hear the Wind Howl: The Life and Music of Robert Johnson,[137] combines documentary segments with recreated scenes featuring Keb' Mo' as Johnson with narration by Danny Glover. Shines, Edwards and Robert Lockwood contribute interviews. These published biographical sketches achieve coherent narratives, partly by ignoring reminiscences and hearsay accounts which contradict or conflict with other accounts.


    Until the 1980s, it was believed that no images of Johnson had survived. However, three images of Johnson were located in 1972 and 1973, in the possession of his half-sister Carrie Thompson. Two of these, known as the "dime-store photo" (December 1937 or January 1938) and the "studio portrait" (summer 1936), were copyrighted by Stephen LaVere (who had obtained them from the Thompson family) in 1986 and 1989, respectively, with an agreement to share any ensuing royalties 50% with the Johnson estate, at that time administered by Thompson. The "dime-store photo" was first published, almost in passing, in an issue of Rolling Stone magazine in 1986, and the studio portrait in a 1989 article by Stephen Calt and Gayle Dean Wardlow in 78 Quarterly. Both were subsequently featured prominently in the printed materials associated with the 1990 CBS box set of the "complete" Johnson recordings, as well as being widely republished since that time. Because Mississippi courts in 1998 determined that Robert Johnson's heir was Claud Johnson, a son born out of wedlock, the "estate share" of all monies paid to LaVere by CBS and others ended up going to Claud Johnson, and attempts by the heirs of Carrie Thompson to obtain a ruling that the photographs were her personal property and not part of the estate were dismissed.[139][140] In his book Searching for Robert Johnson, Peter Guralnick stated that the blues archivist Mack McCormick showed him a photograph of Johnson with his nephew Louis, taken at the same time as the famous "pinstripe suit" photograph, tennessee bank and trust franklin Louis dressed in his United States Navy uniform; this picture, along with the "studio portrait", were both lent by Bb king guitar lesson Thompson to McCormick in 1972.[139] This photograph has never been made public.

    Another photograph, purporting to show Johnson posing with the blues musician Johnny Shines, was published in the November 2008 issue of Vanity Fair magazine.[141] Its authenticity was claimed by the forensic artist Lois Gibson and by Johnson's estate in 2013,[142] but has been disputed by some music historians, including Elijah Wald, Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, who considered that the clothing suggests a date after Johnson's death and that the photograph may have been reversed and retouched. Further, both David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Robert Lockwood failed to identify either man in the photo. Facial recognition software concluded that neither man was Bb king guitar lesson or Shines. Finally, Gibson claimed the photo was from 1933 to 1934 while it is now known that Johnson did not meet Shines until early 1937.[143] In December 2015, a fourth photograph was published, purportedly showing Johnson, his wife Calletta Craft, Estella Coleman, and Robert Lockwood Jr.[144] This photograph was also declared authentic by Lois Gibson, but her identification of Johnson has been dismissed by other facial recognition experts and blues historians. There are a number of glaring errors in this photo: it has been proven that Craft died before Johnson met Coleman, the clothing could not be prior to the late 1940s, the furniture is from the 1950s, the Coca-Cola bottle cannot be from prior to 1950, etc.[145]

    A third photograph of Johnson, this time smiling, was published in 2020. It is believed to have been taken in Memphis on the same occasion as the verified photograph of him with a guitar and cigarette (part of the "dime-store" set), and is in the possession of Annye Anderson, Johnson's step-sister (Anderson is the daughter of Charles Dodds, later Bb king guitar lesson, who was married to Robert's mother but was not his father). As a child, Anderson grew up in the same family as Johnson and has claimed to have been present, aged 10 or 11, on the occasion the photograph was taken. This photograph was published in Vanity Fair in May 2020, as the cover image for a book, Brother Robert: Growing Up with Robert Johnson, written by Anderson in collaboration with author Preston Lauterbach,[146] and is considered to be authentic by Johnson scholar Elijah Wald.


    Johnson left no will. In 1998, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that Claud Johnson, a retired truck driver living in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, was the son of Robert Johnson and his only heir. The court heard that he had been born to Virgie Jane Smith (later Virgie Jane Cain), who had a relationship with Robert Johnson in 1931. The relationship was attested to by a friend, Eula Mae Williams, but other relatives descended from Robert Johnson's half-sister, Carrie Harris Thompson, contested Claud Johnson's claim. The effect of the judgment was to allow Claud Johnson to receive over $1 million in royalties.[147] Claud Johnson died, aged 83, on June 30, 2015, leaving six children.[148]


    Main article: Robert Johnson recordings § Discography

    Eleven 78-rpm records by Johnson were released by Vocalion Records in 1937 and 1938, with additional pressings by ARC budget labels. In 1939, a twelfth was issued posthumously. Johnson's estate holds the copyrights to his songs.[150] In 1961, Columbia Records released King of the Delta Blues Singers, an album representing the first modern-era release of Johnson's performances, which started the "re-discovery" of Johnson as blues artist. In 1970, Columbia issued a second volume, King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. II.

    The Complete Recordings, a two-disc set, released on August 28, 1990, contains almost everything Johnson recorded, with all 29 recordings, and 12 alternate takes. Another alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" was released by Sony on the CD reissue of King of the Delta Blues Singers. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Johnson's birth, May 8, 2011, Sony Legacy released Robert Johnson: The Centennial Collection, a re-mastered 2-CD set of all 42 of his recordings and two brief fragments, one of Johnson practicing a guitar figure and the other of Johnson saying, presumably to engineer Don Law, "I wanna go on with our next one myself." Reviewers commented that the sound quality of the 2011 release was a substantial improvement on the 1990 release.[152]

    Awards and recognition[edit]


    1. ^Malt, Andy (May 12, 2020). "Robert Johnson Biography Takes Penderyn Music Book Prize". Retrieved May 18, 2020.
    2. ^"Abbay & Leatherman – Robinsonville". Mississippi Blues Trail. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
    3. ^Freeland, Tom (March–April 2000). "Robert Johnson: Some Witnesses to a Short Life". Living Blues. No. 150. p. 49. ISSN 0024-5232.
    4. ^ abThe Search for Robert Johnson (Film). 1992.
    5. ^Pearson & McCulloch 2003, p. 56, quoting Robert Neff and Anthony Connor's Blues (1975).
    6. ^Sisario, Ben (February 28, 2004). "Revisionists Sing New Blues History". Retrieved May 22, 2010.
    7. ^Charters 1973
    8. ^Chistensen, Thor (November 19, 2011). "Dallas Church Preserving the Legacy of Robert Johnson". Retrieved April 15, 2021.
    9. ^Havers, Richard (November 23, 2018). "The Devil's Music: The Life and Legacy of Robert Johnson". Retrieved April 2, 2019.
    10. ^Graves 2008, pp. 39–43: Johnson being poisoned by a jos a bank suit rental cost husband who put strychnine in his whiskey is a frequently given scenario.
    11. ^Conforth & Wardlow 2019, pp. 260–261
    12. ^"Discovering Robert Johnson's Guitar Teacher, Ike Zimmerman". Living Blues. No. 194. January–February 2008. pp. 68–73. ISSN 0024-5232.
    13. ^ abcFerris, Bill. The Story with Dick Gordon (television program). American Public Media.
    14. ^Evans 1999
    15. ^ abcdMyers, Marc (April 22, 2011). "Still Standing at the Crossroads". Retrieved April 16, 2021.
    16. ^Dylan 2004
    17. ^Buncombe, Andrew (July 26, 2006). "The Grandfather of Rock'n'Roll: The Devil's Instrument". Retrieved April 15, 2021.
    18. ^Yanow, Scott. "Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1946-1949) – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
    19. ^Brown, Marisa. "Various Artists: Detroit Blues: Blues from the Motor City 1938-1954 – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
    20. ^arwulf, arwulf. "Roosevelt Sykes: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 10 (1951-1957) – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
    21. ^Planer, Lindsay. "Various Artists: Sounds of the South [4 CDs] – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
    22. ^"1980 Hall of Fame Inductees: Robert Johnson". November 10, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
    23. ^"Award Winners and Nominees: Robert Johnson – Classic of Blues Recording - Single or Album Track". n.d. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
    24. ^ ab"500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll G-J". 1995. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
    25. ^"Eric Clapton Takes on Robert Johnson's Blues: Guitarist Records the 'Powerful' Music that Influenced Him". March 30, 2004. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
    26. ^Terry Gross (August 24, 2004). Former Led Zeppelin Singer Robert Plant (Radio interview). Event occurs at 9:05. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
    27. ^Degennaro, Catherine (May 6, 2011). "You've Never Heard Robert Johnson's 'Complete Recordings'?!". Retrieved October 27, 2021.
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    In the Style of BB King

    There is no Doubt that BB King has inspired the world with his beautiful, distinctive and melodic style. Read full description…

    There is no Doubt that BB King has inspired the mediacom online bill pay convergent care with his beautiful, distinctive and melodic style.

    In this video lesson with interactive tab. I'll play thorough a solo in the style of BB king and break down each phrase and explain what's happening. This is a wonderful way to see how he may have structured a solo, slowly building and linking things together. Not only will you have a complete piece to play but you'll get some insight into BB'S playing style and take away some cool phrases and ideas you can put into your own playing!

    Just a fantastic lesson in the art of pacing a solo, phrasing and timing.

    Full course is 27 minutes across 2 parts

    In The Style Of BB King
    BB King Style Rhythm Lesson

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