Blind Willie Johnson / Jan 25, 1897 - Sept 18, 1945

Blind Willie Johnson, the gospel blues singer/guitarist from Texas was responsible for one of the single most haunting songs in the American song canon, "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" (a song which has been sent into outer space). Allegedly blinded by his stepmother in an act of revenge against his father, Johnson's hard life included living in the streets and in the ruins of his burned-down home. While ill, he was refused admittance at a hospital due to being black and blind, dying with no treatment.

Here is that deeply stirring song as we celebrate his birthday today:

Tagged: Blind Willie Johnson, blues, Celebrate Icons, folk, gospel, guitar

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