Blind Willie Johnson, preacher, singer, guitarist
Singer ~ Guitarist ~ Preacher
Also known as: Blind Texas Marlin, The Blind Pilgrim

Blind Willie Johnson

January 22, 1902 ?, Brenham, TX ~ September 18, 1945, Beaumont, TX
Note: Most agree on January 22nd, nobody agrees on birthyear.

Stunning blues guitarist and arguably the greatest ‘sanctified’ singer to record in the pre-World War II era. ~ Allmusic: Blind Willie Johnson ~ retrieved January 22, 2015 © Allmusic

Although he only recorded a total of 30 songs within a 3 year period, Johnson’s influence has had a lasting power over rock and roll. The most notable of the “leading artists” would be Led Zeppelin who covered “Jesus Make up My Dying Bed” and “It's Nobody's Fault But Mine,” but there are countless others. The long list of names includes Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Nina Simone, Ralph Stanley and many more. And the trend still continues today with artists ranging from Nick Cave to Ben Harper to The White Stripes.. ~ Ipetition: Blind Willie Johnson R&R Hall of Fame Petition ~ retrieved January 22, 2015 © Ipetition

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January 22, 1994 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (5) Toni Braxton, Breathe Again ~ #2 (1) Mariah Carey, Hero ~ #1 (2) Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting, All For Love


The “blind bluesman” is perhaps the dominant image of the genre, and one that evokes a number of associations. As noted by scholar Joesph Witek, the idea of the “blind genius” dates at least as far back as Homer. Given that many of these musicians were extraordinarily talented, their blindness might have fed popular interest in their music. However, blindness was also a debilitating condition for many of these men, especially in the rural South, so that the blind musician occupied a place of pity in the public mentality. Economic necessity is probably the most compelling argument for the relatively large number of blind blues musicians. Most African-Americans living in the South had few other possible careers outside of manual labor, and playing music was one of the few options left to a blind man. Even the schools for the blind offered musical education as part of their curriculum, and several musicians got their start in schools. Record companies were quick to play up the fact that their musicians were blind and the suffering that their condition brought them. ~ Redefine: Forgotten Gems & Dusty Classics/Blind Bluesmen ~ January 13, 2014 © Redefine

Blind Willie Johnson ~ Mother's Children Have A Hard Time ~ Named one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll in 1995.

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