31 Songs Of Halloween: Blind Willie Johnson: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground

  • Posted on
  • 22.10.16

When in 1977 astronomer Carl Sagan and his team were tasked to collect a series of sounds that would represent life on Earth and the human experience to be sent to space on the Voyager spacecraft, alongside the sounds of crickets and frogs they collected, they also included a series of songs from all over the world. One of them was the classic gospel blues song, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground, that Blind Willie Johnson first recorded in 1927.

The classic song may be in essence an instrumental though it also includes some indistinct vocals by Blind Willie Johnson, which are basically just hums and moans, yet based on the fact that the song was originally written in 1792 by English minister, Thomas Haweis, it is often pointed out that the song is about the crucifixion of Christ.

Johnson's exemplary bottleneck slide guitar which shines throughout the three-minute track has been one of the foundations upon which rock music was built decades later. A little short than a whole century since the song was recorded and today still, aesthetically it stands strong, as it has passed the infallible test of time as an immortal standard.

See the other entries in 31 Songs Of Halloween 2016


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