Willie Johnson

Willie Johnson


1/22/1897, near Brenham, Texas



Birth Name

Willie Johnson



Also Known As

Blind Willie Johnson
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"Blind" Willie Johnson was born January 22, 1897 near Brenham, Texas. He is most known for being considered the best ever slide guitar player, as he sung blues and preached gospel music with his gruffy voice. He was blinded at age seven when lye water was thrown into…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • The Baptist preacher, Johnson, would use his gospel music as his sermons.

    • Many artists have covered Blind Willie's gospel songs since his death in the late 1940s - such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Ry Cooder.

    • Blind Willie Johnson recorded six different songs in a studio that Columbia Records brought him to on December 3, 1927. Those six songs were If I Had My Way, Mother's Children Have a Hard Time, It's Nobody's Fault But Mine, Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed, I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole, and Dark was the Night - Cold was the Ground.

    • Blind Willie's John the Revelator was featured on the 1952 release of the Harry Smith anthology, "American Folk Music".

    • A double-disc set released in 1993 entitled The Complete Blind Willie Johnson sold only about 15,000 copies.

    • Blind Willie Johnson's recording career ended in 1930.

    • Willie Johnson's only child was a daughter who lives in Marlin, Texas. Her name is Sam Faye Johnson-Kelly.

    • Blind Willie's "masterpiece", Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground) was chosen for an album aboard Voyager 1 in 1977 as it journeyed to the end of the universe.

    • To this day in 2009, only one picture has ever been found of Blind Willie Johnson. In the photo, he is seated at a piano, and holding a guitar with a tin cup for tips at its neck.

    • Blind Willie Johnson wrote thirty different songs in a span of only three years, from 1927 to 1930.

    • Johnson's style of music was a powerful, passionate blues gospel. He usually played his guitar and sang alone, but also was sometimes accompanied by his wife, Angeline.

    • Willie's house burned in 1947. Although he didn't die in the fire, Johnson was left with no other place to sleep other than his worn, wet bed. He developed pneumonia shortly after and died about a week after the burning of his house.

    • "Blind" Willie Johnson's music career was active from the 1920s to the 1940s.

    • Willie married a woman named Angeline, who he met when he was performing in Dallas, Texas.

    • Willie Johnson became a Baptist preacher. He brought his sermons and gospel music to the street corners of the surrounding cities of his birthplace, Marlin, Texas.

    • Willie Johnson had excellent blues technique and sound, but he was a great believer in the Bible and did not want to be a bluesman. He started to sing the gospel.

    • "Blind" Willie Johnson played slide guitar, using his pocketknife as a guitar pick.

    • Willie started to earn money when he started playing guitar. It was one of few "avenues" to take to earn a living for a blind man.

    • When Willie was only seven years old, his father and stepmother had gotten into a fight. The stepmother had apparently attempted to throw lye water at Willie's father, but the lye water got into Willie's own eyes, blinding him, which is why he is referred as Blind Willie Johnson.

  • Quotes

  • One of the greatest in blues music history.

    I was born about fifty years after this guy died, of pneumonia in the late 1940's.

    I've looked some of his songs up on Youtube and even though some people that are into all of this hip hop and rap and pop crap, I actually find some interest in his gruffly voice that specializes in blues and gospel music.

    One of my favorite songs of his is "Trouble Soon Be Over".

    Different sources say he was either born in my hometown, Marlin, Texas in 1902, or near Brenham, Texas, in 1897. He died in Beaumont in the late 1940's due to pneumonia, according to Answers.com.

    He is an interesting guy. You'd be amazed by his story. He was blinded at age seven when his father and stepmother had gotten into a fight. His stepmother tried to throw lye water at her husband, but the water got into Willie's eyes blinding him. What a shame.

    I couldn't imagine having to be blind for the rest of my life after my OWN MOTHER, even though it was an accident, and it was his STEP-mother, threw lye water into his eyes.

    But he's a great legend. May of never heard of him, if you haven't, then you need to learn.moreless