One of the most infamously forgotten members of the 27-Club, blues-heart Robert Johnson was served a poisoned glass of whiskey on this day back in 1938 during a show in Greenwood, Mississippi, leading to his death three days later.

Largely considered the grandfather of rock and roll, Johnson struck a deal with the devil — for reals — to play the bare-bones achey true blue howls that he did. The drag was that he was only able to do this 29 times on record before that ill-fated glass of whiskey. The healing effects of the genre, its open window into the great human cathartics of despair, all started with songs like “Me and the Devil Blues,” wild-eyed Johnson never looking back:

You may bury my bod
Ooh, down by the highway side
So my old evil spirit
Can catch a Greyhound bus and ride