John Lee Hooker

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At a Glance

Nationality: American
Born: Aug 22 1917
Died: Jun 21 2001 (83 years old)


Biography

Singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was one of the most successful blues artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet his hypnotic brand of blues was in many ways a throwback to earlier times, before rules of rhyme, meter, and chord structure became standardized. The Clarksdale, Mississippi-born musician burst on the national scene with his first record, "Boogie Chillen," which topped Billboard's Most-Played Juke Box Race Record chart in 1949. His unaccompanied performance, delivered in a declarative baritone over an unchanging one-chord guitar pattern and the steady stomp ... Read more

Singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was one of the most successful blues artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet his hypnotic brand of blues was in many ways a throwback to earlier times, before rules of rhyme, meter, and chord structure became standardized. The Clarksdale, Mississippi-born musician burst on the national scene with his first record, "Boogie Chillen," which topped Billboard's Most-Played Juke Box Race Record chart in 1949. His unaccompanied performance, delivered in a declarative baritone over an unchanging one-chord guitar pattern and the steady stomp of his foot on a wooden board, was not only a bold announcement of youthful independence but marked the arrival of a unique musical stylist. His roots were the North Mississippi hill country, yet through the use of heavily amplified guitar, the Detroit-based bluesman was able to create the music relevant to mass audiences, both rural and urban, and later in his career, white as well as black.

While Hooker did not alter his own style over the years, his musical surroundings changed with the times. Early attempts to wed his unorthodox bar and chord structures to backing bands often yielded chaotic results. After signing with Vee-Jay Records in 1955, his instrumental support became more empathetic. Though he moonlighted for Riverside and Fantasy, cutting acoustic albums aimed at his new folk-blues fans, Hooker continued making electrified R&B singles for Vee-Jay, the biggest being "Boom, Boom" in 1962. He settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. His career got a big boost, beginning in 1989, through a series of acclaimed albums that featured such guests as Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Keith Richards, Charles Brown, and Van Morrison.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was one of the most successful blues artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet his hypnotic brand of blues was in many ways a throwback to earlier times, before rules of rhyme, meter, and chord structure became standardized. The Clarksdale, Mississippi-born musician burst on the national scene with his first record, "Boogie Chillen," which topped Billboard's Most-Played Juke Box Race Record chart in 1949. His unaccompanied performance, delivered in a declarative baritone over an unchanging one-chord guitar pattern and the steady stomp of his foot on a wooden board, was not only a bold announcement of youthful independence but marked the arrival of a unique musical stylist. His roots were the North Mississippi hill country, yet through the use of heavily amplified guitar, the Detroit-based bluesman was able to create the music relevant to mass audiences, both rural and urban, and later in his career, white as well as black.

While Hooker did not alter his own style over the years, his musical surroundings changed with the times. Early attempts to wed his unorthodox bar and chord structures to backing bands often yielded chaotic results. After signing with Vee-Jay Records in 1955, his instrumental support became more empathetic. Though he moonlighted for Riverside and Fantasy, cutting acoustic albums aimed at his new folk-blues fans, Hooker continued making electrified R&B singles for Vee-Jay, the biggest being "Boom, Boom" in 1962. He settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. His career got a big boost, beginning in 1989, through a series of acclaimed albums that featured such guests as Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Keith Richards, Charles Brown, and Van Morrison.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was one of the most successful blues artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet his hypnotic brand of blues was in many ways a throwback to earlier times, before rules of rhyme, meter, and chord structure became standardized. The Clarksdale, Mississippi-born musician burst on the national scene with his first record, "Boogie Chillen," which topped Billboard's Most-Played Juke Box Race Record chart in 1949. His unaccompanied performance, delivered in a declarative baritone over an unchanging one-chord guitar pattern and the steady stomp of his foot on a wooden board, was not only a bold announcement of youthful independence but marked the arrival of a unique musical stylist. His roots were the North Mississippi hill country, yet through the use of heavily amplified guitar, the Detroit-based bluesman was able to create the music relevant to mass audiences, both rural and urban, and later in his career, white as well as black.

While Hooker did not alter his own style over the years, his musical surroundings changed with the times. Early attempts to wed his unorthodox bar and chord structures to backing bands often yielded chaotic results. After signing with Vee-Jay Records in 1955, his instrumental support became more empathetic. Though he moonlighted for Riverside and Fantasy, cutting acoustic albums aimed at his new folk-blues fans, Hooker continued making electrified R&B singles for Vee-Jay, the biggest being "Boom, Boom" in 1962. He settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. His career got a big boost, beginning in 1989, through a series of acclaimed albums that featured such guests as Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Keith Richards, Charles Brown, and Van Morrison.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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