"Cross Road Blues" as written by and Robert Johnson....
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above "have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please"

Ooh, standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Ooh-ee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by

Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroad, baby, eee-eee, risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin' down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, babe, I'm sinkin' down

And I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, baby, I looked East and West
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress


Lyrics submitted by neverheardofhim

"Cross Road Blues" as written by Robert Leroy Johnson

Lyrics © THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Cross Road Blues song meanings
Add your thoughts

20 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentTaps, there's actually quite a lot of meaning in this song, you just need to know where to look.

    "I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
    I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
    Asked the Lord above "Have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please""

    The crossroads are according to legend, as has been said, where one goes to sell his soul to the devil. Later, he regrets this decision and returns to the place where he did the deed, gets o his knees and prays to God for mercy, hoping to reverse the damage he's done.

    "Yeoo, standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
    Ooo eeee, I tried to flag a ride
    Didn't nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by"

    No matter how hard he tries to escape from the crossroads, which symbolize his sin, he cannot, he's symbolically trapped there. Not only that, nobody knows him, or will listen to him, they just pass him by. Just like God is doing to him right now, turning a blind eye to Bob's prayers. No help is coming.

    "Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down
    Standin' at the crossroad, baby, eee, eee, risin' sun goin' down
    I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin' down"

    The sun going down symbolizes his life as it approaches its end. End of the day = end of his life, a common metaphor. As the day ends, his soul begins to sink, down into hell. As his time runs out, he's starting to regret his decision.


    "You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
    You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
    That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, babe, I'm sinkin' down"

    He's asking for help again, from his friends this time. Also could be a warning to another of his friends who sold his soul as well, that he is indeed "sinking down" or going to Hell.


    "And I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
    I went to the crossroad, baby, I looked east and west
    Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress"

    He goes to the crossroads and looks East and West, he's looking for a way out, which he can't find. Finally, after all he's been through he dies alone, with no woman, uncared about.
    Dianabolon July 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLzphishhead -

    Firstly, these lyrics allude to an old folklore that goes back far beyond the life and death of Robert Johnson; the belief that one could sell one's soul at a crossroad to the devil in return for something. Any artist or appreciator of art would tell you that most of understanding art is being able to read into inferences. Just because Johnson doesn't spell it out word for word, doesn't mean that it wasn't one of many intended meanings.

    Secondly, if you had bothered to look into the myths, legends, and other songs of Johnson, you might have held your tongue before posting that admonishing reply. The myth (and I say myth instead of rumor intentionally, which I will get to later) was around even during Johnson's life time. It was most likely instigated by Son House's comment at the time that Johnson must have "sold his soul to the devil to play so good." It is not entirely presumptuous to say that Johnson fed off of this comment and turned it into a legend. This is why I say it is more than simple rumor. If you bother to look at some of his other songs, there is ample reference to the occult (i.e. "Hell Hound on My Trail" and "Me and the Devil Blues"). On top of further songs suggesting this deal with the Devil, there was the fact that he took up an acquaintance with Ike Zinnerman, a guitarist who was known at the time for practicing in graveyards, sitting atop tombstones. Guess what kind of stories became associated with that particular habit. Then, last but not least, there was the story of his death. The most prevelant theory about his death is that he was poisoned by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair. It is believed that while he was able to live through the poisoning, his body, weakened from fighting off the poison, gave way to pneumonia. During his death, which was believed to have been preventable had a doctor been present, he sustained a high fever. There are stories that he talked about big black dogs attacking him as he died, and some stories even say that he began to howl like a dog himself, all of which, if true, were most likely due to fever induced hallucinations. However, when one hallucinates, much like when one dreams, the subconcious often plays puppetmaster to your hallucinations as much as outside stimuli, thus suggesting that he held some belief or fascination with the idea of having sold his soul to the devil.

    In conclusion, with everything that went on both during Johnson's lifetime and after, it is far from idiotic to believe that his music at least had some iota of inference to the occult. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is entirely reasonable to believe that he had intentionally played upon these metaphors and allusions. However, what is short-sighted is to believe a man that was dubbed the "Grandfather of Rock 'N' Roll," inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame, and cited as one of the greatest artists and guitar players of all time by many reputable sources, took no part in, if not entirely incapable of, instilling metaphors and indirect references into his lyrics.
    Robert the Devilon July 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts a song about ebing lonely and also about pleading for his soul that he sold to the devil being saved.
    StonesInMyPasswayon November 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've read quite a few interpretations of this song. The one I find most convincing is one I would not have had the knowledge to think of myself: that Robert was worried about being caught after sunset in a place where blacks at that time were not "allowed". When the sun sets, he fears that being found out could mean him getting lynched. It seems to fit most of the words. Though, maybe "got the cross road blues this morning" implies he made it through the night. The fact is, we'll never know exactly what RJ intended with his words. But the whole devil thing is most likely a red herring, imho.
    slightreturn27on July 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, no matter which way I look at it, this song seems to have no underlying meaning. I'm frustated that I can't disect it and find meaning, but it's refreshing sometimes to have someone say-or sing, in this instance-just what they really mean.
    TapsAtDawnon July 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about robert johnson making a deal with the devil at the crossroads.
    legend has it that down in mississippi there is an old crossroads where you can have whatever you want in exchange for your soul. in johnson's case, he wanted to be able to play good blues.
    mtvhatredon July 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat is a common myth, The same story applies to Tommy Johnson, Though i doubt it was the Devil but more likely A strange method of tuning.
    FackingHellon August 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe legend goes that if you play your guitar at midnight at the intersection of highway 49 and Highway 61 in Clarksdale Mississippi an old black woman takes your guitar and gives it back. Tommy Johnson explicity claimed to have done this. Robert Johnson was rumored to have done this. I don't think Robert is trying to say he sold his soul, but rather he uses these mythical crossroads as a way of describing the blues he feels like being without a soul, in the absence of God.
    j33buscr1p3son August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt really sucks not having an edit button. What I was trying to say about the legend is that once the transaction is complete, you've sold your soul to the devil in exchange for amazing guitar abilities.
    j33buscr1p3son August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, about the selling your soul to the devil bit, have you every bothered to listen to the lyrics to this song? there is absolutely no reference to the devil or someone playing a guitar, this is just an example of someone coming here having heard a rumor and deciding to add their 2 cents cause they just KNOW that this rumor is correct, read the darn lyrics before you post. this song is (like most) about exactly what is written in the lyrics.
    lzphishheadon September 21, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain