Biography

There were many innovators of what would become Rock n Roll already layin’ it down via guitar back in the 30’s and 40’s. The roots were pulled out of the Mississippi Delta and moved into the bigger cities like St. Louis and Chicago. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson, and John Lee Hooker, who ended up in Detroit Michigan.

Hooker’s guitar stylings and growling voice gave depth and boogie to the beat of the Blues. He wrote and played simple, yet powerful songs that put him on the stage as the purveyor of cool.

john lee hooker defines the blues ROQNROL.com

 

Playing in Detroit clubs at night, and working at the Ford auto factory during the day, John Lee Hooker dropped the acoustic and went for the louder and meaner sound of the electric guitar and started recording. To get around record contracts that paid little back then, he recorded variations of his songs with psuedonoms like John Lee, John Lee Cooker, Texas Slim, Delta John, and the Boogie Man.

You might listen to one of his songs and find he changes his tempo a lot during the song, which suits him and the song just fine, but not so much for the backing musician. Because of this, to keep time, he usually stomped along with the music on the floor or with a wooden pallet in the studio. His “floor stompin’ boogie” became part of his signature style.

Later in life, he starred as a street musician in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers and recorded many albums with contemporary artists like Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and Van Morrison.

john lee hooker blues artist ROQNROL.comHe lived his last years in Long Beach California. One of his last shows was for the opening of a night club in San Francisco’s Filmore District called John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room, named after one of his most famous hits.