Artist picture of John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker

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One of the great Delta blues stylists, John Lee Hooker's idiosyncratic influence extended well into the rock era, inspiring bands like the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds and even earning him a hit single with the classic Boom Boom. The youngest of 11 children raised by a southern sharecropper, Hooker's earliest musical inspiration came from the spirituals he heard in church and he was introduced to the guitar by his blues playing stepfather William Moore. He ran away from home at 15, drifting around until 1948 when he arrived in Detroit (aged 36), where he bought his first electric guitar and started playing in local blues clubs. It earned him a record deal, resulting in his first hit single Boogie Chillen and his unique guitar style built around irregular rhythms gradually emerged, along with his prolific songwriting. During the 1950s he recorded under a series of different pseudonyms, before his re-discovery during the 1960s R&B boom. Hooker appeared in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers and collaborated with Carlos Santana and Bonnie Raitt on one of his most successful albums The Healer in 1989 and appeared on stage with Van Morrison. He continued to perform until his death in 2001 at the age of 88, leaving behind an astonishing legacy of over 100 albums and a thrillingly unique blues guitar style.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved