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Beyond the Beat: Robert Johnson

Beyond the Beat is an ongoing interactive storytelling project that began in 2016 to celebrate Black History Month, focused on telling the stories behind lesser-known African-American musicians who have made huge impacts on the broader music world. It started with a close look at Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who set the stage for a burgeoning era of rock and roll.

In this year’s installment, we look at Robert Johnson, a singer and guitarist whose sound and style turned the tide on American blues. Though his life and career were brief, Johnson’s significance still lives on, having shaped the wide-ranging sounds of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more.

Today, his spirit continues to soar through his music. Rolling Stone ranked him fifth in the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list.

Click here to view the interactive site.

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