Who has never heard of pacts with the devil? Of Satan himself, his favors and his exchanges with humans are full of fairy tales and prayers, but also the high literature. In fact, oral stories have always handed down these dark-toned stories, now placed in the groove between folklore and religion, and great writers such as Marlowe, Goethe and Mann have developed them, transforming them into great classics of literature. However, with the advent of the twenty-first century, a period full of media and science, Lucifer has faded into the background in popular culture. he has disappeared almost everywhere, except in one industry: that of music. The story of the is proof of this Club 27an urban legend that sees the sudden deaths of immense singers and musicians due to the conclusion of a pact with the Evil One.
The number is associated with the young age of all personalities who died under mysterious circumstances, even if in reality they were often victims of alcoholism or substance abuse. Within this exclusive “circle” there are over 20 names, such as for example Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin.
The history of Club 27: the beginning
The origins of this legend, however, must be sought at the beginning of the twentieth century in America, precisely in the figure of Robert Johnson. An eclectic blues guitarist, he was known to have become a musical genius after more than a year’s absence. This improvement was considered suspicious as the man had never shown an artistic inclination and was indeed derided for this ambition of him. These factors led to the belief that the cause could only be supernatural. At night at a crossroads he traded his soul and a handful of years of excellent music for an uncommon talent.
It is said that he was found dead under mysterious circumstances: however, the sources probably report a possible poisoning. In fact, it seems that the man spent his last evening in a club, where he was supposed to perform. However, the manager, aware that he was having an affair with his wife, poured poison into the bottle, leading him first to a state of confusion and then to his death. Various speculations have been made on these events and an interesting documentary has also been made, Devil at the Crossroads, featured on Netflix. In just a few episodes you can get a more complete picture of his smoky biography, accompanying them with the testimonies of his descendants.
The modern day urban legend
The same ruinous fate befell Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrinson, Kurt Kobain and Amy Winehouse. In common these artists have an unhappy childhood and a troubled life, marked by family traumas and hostile backgrounds that they have not been able to overcome. These are only the most famous examples, but the list also extends beyond the American and Anglo-Saxon world. However, all these singer-songwriters with tormented lives share another common denominator: blues influences. In fact, since its inception this music, belonging to the black community, was frowned upon both by religion and by slavers who, in addition to being racist, identified in it a subversive charge. Its slow, variable and sinuous rhythm could only be a shame. However, neither of the two authorities, as often happens, has managed to eradicate the licentious contents and immodest sounds of this genre.
Between being appreciated and being rejected, however, it continued its course. In fact, bluesmen lived lives on the edge just to pursue their passion, transmitting this experience within their lyrics. Illicit loves, illegal activities and the feeling of being an outcast therefore permeate much of their lyrics. Despite the critical issues that arose along the way, the blues continued on its path, arriving much later to give birth to rock, equally contested. Even this nowadays, in its different subcategories, is labeled as the music of the devil. Probably all this is due to its harsh sounds, the anti-establishment desire expressed within the songs and the aesthetics that some artists convey on stage and in their video clips.
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