2006 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Flowers, Albritton, Brown, Browning, Burton, Butler, Clarke, Davis, Dawkins, Dearing, Doxey, Frazier, Gollott, Gordon, Harden, Hewes, Horhn, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (11th), Jackson (15th), Jackson (32nd), King, Lee (35th), Little, Morgan, Nunnelee, Posey, Ross, Simmons, Thomas, White, Wilemon, Williamson

Senate Concurrent Resolution 565

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, 70 years after the iconic musician's death in Greenwood, Mississippi, Robert Johnson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Annual Grammy Ceremony on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, in Los Angeles, California; and

     WHEREAS, blues musician Robert Johnson was born May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and died August 16, 1938, in Greenwood, Mississippi.  He was 27 and had recorded a total of 42 songs; and

     WHEREAS, often described as "the greatest blues singer of all time," Johnson has influenced musicians from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan to the Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton and Cream, on down to The White Stripes; and

     WHEREAS, in 1990, when the complete set of his recordings was released in a CD box set as Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings, on Columbia/Legacy, it was the first blues album in history to sell more than 2 million copies.  Today his music, coupled with his storied life and death, still captivate; and

     WHEREAS, he didn't live to see 30 years and recorded only 29 songs on 42 tracks, including "Me and The Devil Blues," "Crossroad Blues," "Rambling On My Mind," "Traveling Riverside Blues," "Love In Vain," "32-20 Blues," "Milkcow's Calf Blues," "They're Red Hot," "Kindhearted Woman Blues," "Come On In My Kitchen," "I'm A Steady Rollin' Man" and "Sweet Home Chicago"; and

     WHEREAS, the story of Robert Johnson, the nomadic bluesman who died penniless at age 27 in Greenwood, has been written, filmed and discussed for decades.  You can't mention him without hearing the legend that Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in Clarksdale, or Rosedale, or Greenwood, in exchange for his musical genius; and

     WHEREAS, stories of Johnson's cause of death in 1938 vary.  Some people say he was given some poisoned moonshine by a jealous husband.  There are also disputes about his burial site in the Delta, three sites are often mentioned, but many believe the grave on Money Road in the Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery is the place where Johnson rests; and

     WHEREAS, the 4-foot-tall granite headstone placed there in the late 1990s sits at the foot of a pecan tree.  It is inscribed with Johnson's name, birth and death dates.  In the center is a note that Johnson is reported to have scribbled on his death bed.  It reads, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jerusalem, I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He will call me from the grave."  On any given day throughout the year, Johnson fans can be found there paying homage; and

     WHEREAS, this recognition is long overdue and we are very proud that his music is loved and recognized worldwide, bringing honor to the blues culture and to the State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby posthumously commend Robert Johnson upon his receipt of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Annual Grammy Ceremony in Los Angeles, California, and express our appreciation for this long overdue recognition.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to his son, Claud Johnson, Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and be made available to the Capital Press Corps.