Crossroads (Robert Johnson)

  • 07 Nov 11:11
  • 2 lists

"Crossroads" is a famous and influential blues-rock song. It has become a blues standard for many blues-rock bands, notably Cream, who released it on their 1968 album Wheels of Fire.


The song was written by Robert Johnson as "Cross Road Blues" with additional lines copied from Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues". Musically the motifs in this song owe more to the song Traveling Riverside Blues than they do to Cross Road Blues. Many believe the song is about the original songwriter, Robert Johnson, going to the crossroads to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play the blues and gain fame. Some historian believe the song is actually about an African-American worried about being lynched for being out after dark in an unfamiliar place of the Deep South in the early 20th century. (See Chapter Eight of Leon F. Litwack, Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), especially pages 410 and 411.)


The iconic live recording was captured at the Winterland Ballroom on the 10 March, 1968 and not at the Fillmore as stated by the original Wheels of Fire album. It has also been suggested that the released recording is a...

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