To me Robert Johnson’s influence — he was like a comet or a meteor that came along and, BOOM, suddenly he raised the ante, suddenly you just had to aim that much higher. As Keith Richards tells it, the first time he met Brian Jones, the two “went around to his apartment crash-pad,” where all Jones had was “a chair, a record player, and a few records, one of which was Robert Johnson.” Jones put on the record, and the moment changed Richards’ life. He wasn’t so much interested in the devil at the crossroads. The first question he asked — “Who’s that?” — was followed by, “Yeah, but who’s the other guy playing with him? That, too, was Robert Johnson, playing rhythm with his thumb while bending and sliding with his fingers, the fancy guitar work that earned him the envy of fellow bluesmen, and led to the rumor his skills came from hell.