Today we honor John Lee Hooker, one of our most cherished artists, who was born this day in 1917 in Clarksdale, Mississippi and would have been 97 in boogie years.
Hooker grew up to influence rock and roll, honky tonk, and of course, the blues. He was a gentleman through and through and loved Epiphone instruments throughout his professional career. He was also a friend to every artist who crossed his path including Muddy Waters, Michael Bloomfield, Bob Dylan, Peter Wolf, Jack Casady, and Bonnie Raitt among many others. His singing, sense of time, and guitar style still mesmerises. It can't be beat.
In the early 1940s while still in his 20s, John Lee moved to Detroit, Michigan where he found work as a janitor in various auto factories while recording and playing wherever he could. In his off time, he could be found with his guitar at house parties and local establishments where he was discovered by local record store owner, Elmer Barbee.
Barbee introduced John Lee to record producer Bernard Besman who took John Lee into the studio and began leasing his recordings to Modern Records. By 1948, one of John Lee's first recordings, "Boggie Chillen" had become a #1 jukebox hit and went on to become a million seller. An even bigger hit followed with "I'm In The Mood" followed by "Crawling Snake", "Hobo Blues" and more than 100 other releases during the 1950s and 1960s.
John Lee lived to see several generations turned on by his boogie woogie and his boogie woogie still rocks us today. Check out two of his favorites: the Sheraton II
and the '62 50th Anniversary Sorrento.