Robert Johnson legacy at risk says grandson

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The grandson of Robert Johnson fears that the blues icon’s legacy is at risk of being forgotten.

Steven Johnnson, VP of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation, says it’s because artists don’t realise that work needs to be done to secure it.

The pioneering singer, songwriter and guitarist died in 1938 at the age of 27, and was largely ignored until his work was re-released in the 1960s.

Steven Johnson tells American Songwriter: “It’s like they’re holding on to what was –but they’re not embracing what is. It’s hard to get those people who were really inspired by him to embrace what we’re trying to do now.”

He adds: “I love the fact that Eric Clapton told us that Robert Johnson was the reason he picked up a guitar. Let’s keep his legacy alive by giving to others and helping the younger generation to embrace the same music that you have love for.”

Church minister Johnson refutes the legend of his grandfather selling his soul to the Devil, saying: “You can’t sell something you don’t own. He didn’t own his soul.”