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John Lee Hooker Brings Mississippi to Rock and Roll

John Lee Hooker recorded music for more than 50 years. Here is the beginning of his website bio:

Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi on August 22, 1917 to a sharecropping family, John Lee Hooker’s earliest musical influence came from his stepfather, Will Moore. By the early 1940’s Hooker had moved north to Detroit by way of Memphis and Cincinnati. Hooker found work as a janitor in the auto factories, and at night, like many other transplants from the rural Delta, he entertained friends and neighbors by playing at “house parties”. He was “discovered” by record storeowner Elmer Barbee who took him to Bernard Besman, who was a producer, record distributor and owner of Sensation Records, Besman leased some of his early Hooker recordings to Modern Records. Among Hooker’s first recordings in 1948, “Boogie Chillen” became a number one jukebox hit for Modern and his first million seller. This was soon followed by an even bigger hit with “I’m In The Mood” and other classic recordings including “Crawling Kingsnake” and “Hobo Blues.” Another surge in his career took place with the release of more than 100 songs on Vee Jay Records during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Hooker is the bio from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, into which Hooker was inducted in 1991B:

John Lee Hooker is a giant of the blues and the father of the boogie. Beginning in 1948 with his first single, “Boogie Chillen,” he introduced the world to the persistent, chugging rhythm of boogie music, a form of country blues Hooker learned back home in Mississippi. His foot-stomping boogie was adapted and amplified in the Sixties and Seventies by a great number of rock and roll artists, including the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Canned Heat, John Mayall, Ten Years After, Foghat, ZZ Top and George Thorogood. Beyond his ability to lock into a hypnotic boogie groove, Hooker is renowned for the gruff emotionality of his voice and the stark intensity of his guitar playing. Over the decades, he has proven to be a survivor. When interest in electric blues began cooling off, Hooker found a niche for himself on the coffeehouse circuit during the acoustic folk-music boom of the late Fifties and early Sixties. More recently, his career has enjoyed a sustained resurgence that included a Grammy award for his 1989 album The Healer. (Continue Reading…)

Above is Boom Boom and below is Hobo Blues. 

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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