Stop Breakin’ Down – A Short Film About Robert Johnson
Here’s a great short documentary on the life of Robert Johnson by Glenn Marzano. Everyone who has read, listened or played a Johnson tune, has their viewpoint. The film looks at these varying opinions, and is built around the night of his murder utilizing flashbacks, his relationship with Son House, and two reasons for his rapid guitar skills… One of those being the infamous crossroad legend.
I’ve included Marzano’s full 25 minute short film in this post. It’s extremely well done and thought you might enjoy the story.
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 — August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer and musician. His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that have influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including a Faustian myth. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson enjoyed little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.
His records sold poorly during his lifetime, and it was only after the first reissue of his recordings on LP in 1961 that his work reached a wider audience. Johnson is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly of the Mississippi Delta blues style. He is credited by many rock musicians as an important influence; Eric Clapton has called Johnson “the most important blues singer that ever lived.” Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “Early Influence” in their first induction ceremony in 1986. In 2003, David Fricke ranked Johnson fifth in Rolling Stone ‘s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone’s 2011 list ranks him at number seventy-one.