August 16 is not a good day in Music History. On August 16,1938, legendary Blues musician Robert Johnson died at the age of 27. Making him of the first members of the elusive club of 27.
Johnson’s death was not reported publicly. Almost 30 years later, Gayle Dean Wardlow, a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson’s life, found Johnson’s death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death. No formal autopsy had been done. Instead, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that this may have been a contributing factor in his death. Although rumour has it thet he sold this soul to the Devil, in order to become the best Blues guitarist to ever walk the earth.
39 years later fate would strike the King of Rock N Roll.On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him in an unresponsive state on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion. According to her eyewitness account, “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the toilet and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. … It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.” Attempts to revive him failed, and he was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital at 3:30 p.m. He was 42 years old.
While an autopsy, undertaken the same day Presley died, was still in progress, Memphis medical examiner Jerry Francisco announced that the immediate cause of death was cardiac arrest. Asked if drugs were involved, he declared that “drugs played no role in Presley’s death”, but we now know that drugs had played a major part in his death.
Both men changed the music scene forever. The were both Kings in their genre. Tow genres that soo often intertwined. If Rock N Roll and Blues were human beings they would have been brothers.
Finishing up with the music that made them so famous.
According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. One of the legends often told says that Johnson was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. (There are claims for at least a dozen other sites as the location of the crossroads.)There he was met by the Devil, who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This story of a deal with the Devil at the crossroads mirrors the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.
The story was initially told of an older bluesman, Tommy Johnson (no relation), but he died in 1956, aged 60. It was more hauntingly apposite for Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, aged only 27, after a troubled life and an itinerant career. His only recordings, made a year before his death, still have a spooky quality even 80 years on.
His death was as mysterious as his life. He died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi, of unknown causes. His death was not reported publicly; he merely disappeared from the historical record and it was not until almost 30 years later, when Gayle Dean Wardlow, a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson’s life, found his death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death. No formal autopsy was done; instead, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that may have been a contributing factor in his death. However, 30 years of local legend and oral tradition had, like the rest of his life story, built a legend which has filled in gaps in the scant historical record.
Elvis Aaron Presley, aka Elvis, aka the “King of Rock and Roll”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy.
Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8,1935.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him in an unresponsive state on a bathroom floor. According to her eyewitness account, “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the toilet and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. … It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.” Attempts to revive him failed, and his death was officially pronounced at 3:30 p.m. at the Baptist Memorial Hospital.
I remember that day as if it was Yesterday. I was 9 at the time. I came home from school and my mother asked me “Guess who died today?” I asked who, she replied Elvis. Trying to be the tough guy I said “What is it to me?” . But when I went to my room, I cried for the rest of the day.
Joseph Ronald Drew, or Ronnie Drew was an Irish singer, folk musician and actor who achieved international fame during a fifty-year career recording with The Dubliners. He is most recognised for his lead vocals on the single “Seven Drunken Nights” and “The Irish Rover” both charting in the UK top 10 and then performed on TOTP. He was recognisable for his long beard and pale blue eyes and his voice.
On 25 October 2007, Drew—now bald and beardless—appeared on Ryan Confidential on RTÉ 1 to give an interview about his role in The Dubliners, his life since leaving the band and being diagnosed with throat cancer. Later in 2007, he appeared on The Late Late Show, where he spoke some more about the death of his wife and his ongoing treatment for cancer.
Drew died in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on 16 August 2008, following his long illness. He was buried three days later in Redford Cemetery in Greystones.
Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul”, she is regarded as the most influential female vocalist of the 1960s. Franklin began her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister.
On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit.[She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and former husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Aretha Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will.The cause of death was a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET),which is distinct from the most common form of pancreatic cancer.[Numerous celebrities in the entertainment industry and politicians paid tribute to Franklin, including former U.S. President Barack Obama who said she “helped define the American experience”.[ Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton called her a “civil rights and humanitarian icon”.
Why did I use the names of these 2 artists as the title of this blog? Because they had nothing in common.
Well that is not entirely true. Both were born in Mississippi and both died on the 16th of August, Elvis 42 years ago today and Robert Johnson 81 year ago today. Both were pioneers in their music genre.
Also they both shaped my musical taste. It is a simple fact that there will never be any stars of their magnitude again.
Elvis was and is the undisputed King of Rock N Roll.
Whereas Robert Johnson was and is the undisputed King of the Blues.
Both men were legends and met untimely deaths and both were victims of circumstance.
I will not go to deep into their lives because there is nothing more that I can add to their stories. Below are 2 blogs though I have done in the past.
Let’s celebrate their lives with some of their music.
RIP Elvis and Robert. Thank you for the music
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