Tommy Johnson
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Biography for
Tommy Johnson (Character)
from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

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Tommy Johnson (1896 - November 01, 1956)

Tommy Johnson was a pioneer of delta blues. The "selling his soul to the devil" story originated, quite secretly at first, with him before Robert Johnson (no relation) ever picked it up. A Canned Heat addict, he played an eerie and intriguing style of sound that ranged form a low growl to a distinct moaning. His influence can be seen far and wide. He penned and sang what would later become one of Howlin' Wolf's most famous lines, "Asked her for Water, (She Gave Me Gasoline)" and sang the very popular "Canned Heat Blues". Unusually, Johnson remained exclusively a Blues player his whole life, never setting away his guitar, and playing largely around the Delta area until his death at 60 in 1956. No doubt, though, his legacy influenced scores of Blues musicians after him, and he was one of the greatest, most well-respected original Blues men ever to have walked the earth. Interestingly, Chris Thomas King, an extremely talented and accomplished contemporary Blues musician himself, played a Tommy Johnson in the Coen brothers movie 'O, Brother Where Art Thou!'.

Page last updated by kritspa, 3 years ago
Top Contributors: rlgolden, markci, kritspa