Deals with the Devil: A Brief Musical History

You’ve probably heard about how Robert Johnson met the devil at the crossroads in Mississippi and sold his soul for the ability to play guitar better than anyone before. Johnson let folks believe that if they wanted, and even capitalized on the tale in his songs. Whatever happened to take him from beginner to virtuoso, he was far from the first musician to make that bargain, if the legends are to be believed.

These stories abound because some performers are so good that no one could believe they achieved that level of virtuosity on their own. Talent and hard work were dismissed in favor of a supernatural explanation. Polyphonic brings us a chronological account of the many tales of incredible talent attributed to a Faustian deal.