Shane Ford 0

Blind Willie Johnson Rock Hall of Fame

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We call on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to induct the gospel/blues singer and guitar player, Blind Willie Johnson, into the early influences category. We believe that Johnson’s induction is long overdue. Not only is he one of the most influential slide guitar players, but he was also one of the most popular “race” artists of his era, outselling the blues singer Bessie Smith during the Depression. If the criteria, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is to induct artists "whose music predated rock and roll but had an impact on the evolution of rock and roll and inspired rock's leading artists" Blind Willie Johnson must be inducted. 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. The slide guitarist and producer Ry Cooder, once called Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night - Cold Was The Ground”, the song he used as a model for the film Paris, Texas, as “the most transcendent piece in all American music.” This was the same song that was included on the Voyager Golden Record, a record containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The record was placed upon the Voyager 1, and the probe launched into space in 1977 to inform other life forms of the culture of this world. It is time this great artist is officially recognized for his contribution to the world of music and joins the pantheon of names as a early influence on this thing we now call Rock and Roll.

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