John Lee Hooker

john lee hooker chill out

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John Lee Hooker Chill Out Dudes!

There’s a scene from an early black and white TV – when he walks out playing Tupelo John Lee Hooker lets you know that’s he’s blues all the way through, “I am the Blues”, he seems to shout (in his quiet way, of course).

john lee hooker boom boom boomIt was the riff that did it of course – simple but it encapsulated everything that he wanted to say about the blues and the song. When he started to sing, it was complete and you just knew he was someone that ‘knows’ how to play blues guitar and sing his soul. John Lee Hooker songs were all with that similar mold – simple riffs with nothing flashy to get in the way, words that told the story without being trumped up or flowery and bags of heart and feeling, the secret ingredient of great blues.

Yet another brilliant blues man survives into a relatively ripe old age and treats a world-wide audience to the finest roots music ever performed. Rather than write a complete John Lee Hooker biography, here a great one I found on the net – why re-invent the wheel?

John Lee Hooker Boom Boom

Blues giant whose raw voice and singular guitar bridged generations

In all the long history of the blues, there has been no figure more singular than John Lee Hooker, who has died in his sleep aged 83. Where other singers rhymed, he sang in blank verse; where other guitarists might skip through the changes, he would play entire songs on one or two chords; and where other blues veterans were fortunate to be rediscovered once, he bounced repeatedly from obscurity or semi-retirement back into the limelight.

For most African-American musicians of Hooker’s generation, to title an album Mr Lucky would be to exercise at least a little irony, but he did enjoy more strokes of good fortune than usually come a bluesman’s way. That he could draw about him, even in old age, a crowd of admiring fellow musicians and would-be collaborators was largely due to the hypnotic effect of his music, to the mantra-like chanting over the relentlessly repetitive beat of guitar and foot, which seemed to absorb listeners and accompanists alike into a huge heartbeat.

Those qualities were evident in his first hit, Boogie Chillen (1948), an apparently impromptu synthesis of spoken narrative and sung verses with abrupt gear-changes on the guitar. Such structural wilfulness was not uncommon among the blues musicians of the 1920s and 30s but, for much of his life, Hooker was exceptional – “the last,” Ry Cooder called him, “of those unstructured, free players.” Cooder, together with Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt and other musicians, helped Hooker assert his primacy among the senior bluesmen of the late 1980s and 90s.

When he started his recording career, some 40 years earlier, he was on his own, though so popular did he become after the success of Boogie Chillen that he briefly turned into a multiple personality, recording for half a dozen labels under as many pseudonyms: Texas Slim, Delta John, Johnny Williams, Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar. “At that time,” he would recall, “I began to believe in myself. I knew, then, I was in a field of my own.”

Hooker was based in Detroit, where he had moved in 1943, working during the day as a janitor at Dodge Motors or Comco Steel, and, at night, playing in the black clubs around Hastings Street. Never much given to reminiscence, he managed to preserve a good deal of vagueness about his early life, whether in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he was born into a family of 11 children, or in Memphis and Cincinnati, where he spent periods in his teens.

In Clarksdale, his stepfather taught him some things on guitar, including the open-G tuning he would employ to such resonant effect, and what would become one of his favourite songs, When My First Wife Quit Me. He also listened attentively to the obscure Mississippi bluesman Tony Hollins, from whom he derived one of his early successes, Crawling King Snake, though most of his highly personal conception of blues-singing and playing appears to have come from within him.

I’m In The Mood, a characteristically skewed reconstruction of the pop song I’m In The Mood For Love, gave Hooker another hit in 1951, but the day of the solo bluesman was passing, and when he signed with a new label, the Chicago-based Vee Jay Records, in 1955, he began to work with small backing groups. The other musicians flattened his more baroque rhythmic contours and some of the hectic excitement was lost, but the success of Dimples (1956) proved the change of setting to have been a commercially astute move.

While maintaining his name in the ghetto record stores, he also, exceptionally, developed a parallel career as a folk-blues artist, playing without amplification and recalling songs from an earlier, more rural era of the blues. “I have created about three fields,” he would say proudly. “A folk field, a blues field, and a jump field for the kids. If it was necessary, I could do hillbilly stuff.”

Such dexterity enabled Hooker, in the early 1960s, both to perform at the Newport folk festival and to have a hit in the rhythm ‘n’ blues chart with Boom Boom, which even entered the British Top 20 in 1964 and made possible a succession of British tours. He had first visited Europe with the first of the American folk-blues festival troupes in 1962.

By the late 60s, the folk-blues bubble had burst, and both the music business and its market had other preoccupations. Hooker, whose audiences were now almost entirely white, responded with songs about the Vietnam war and miniskirts. In the 1970s, he became a blues magnet, attracting collaborators such as the American band Canned Heat and his longtime admirer Van Morrison, who joined him in stream-of-consciousness raps like Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive.

By the end of the decade, however, Hooker seemed to have wearied of touring and recording, and when the near-silence prolonged itself through the 1980s, most blues enthusiasts assumed he had vanished into retirement.

It was another admirer half his age, the guitarist Roy Rogers, who, with Hooker’s manager Mike Kappus, discovered the formula to reactivate the sleeping giant, pairing him with artists as different from him, and each other, as the young bluesman Robert Cray, the Hispanic rock band Los Lobos, and the bluesy singer Bonnie Raitt, who remade I’m In The Mood with him as a steamily erotic duet. The result, The Healer (1989), became the bestselling album in blues history, to be followed by Mr Lucky (1991), which repeated the twinning format with Cooder, Morrison and Keith Richards.

If there was less of Hooker’s self-willed guitar to be heard, the years seemed to have added potency to his other resource, the dark, sombre instrument of his voice – “That deep, well-like sound,” Cooder called it, while for Raitt it was “one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard.”

By now as nearly a household name as a blues artist is ever permitted to be, Hooker was sought by film-makers to add an indigo shade to their soundtracks, and by advertisers to fix his stamp upon brands such as ICI, Martell brandy, Foster’s lager and, of course, Lee jeans. He even exploited himself, opening a music club in San Francisco, the Boom Boom Room.

Enjoying his prosperity, Hooker now worked only when he chose, but when he did sit down on a stage with his guitar, he wove much of his old spell. Though he had been lauded in the 1970s as a matchless exponent of the boogie beat – one of the most successful of his scores of albums was titled Endless Boogie – he cared more about telling a story.

“Every song I sing,” he said, “is something that happened to my life or somebody else’s life in this world. You might lose your money or your car, or can’t pay the rent – every person has had these heartaches and tribulations. That’s why everybody digs the blues. When I sing these songs, I feel them down deep and reach you down deep”.

Hooker is survived by his fourth wife, Millie, and by six children from his previous marriages, including musicians Zakiya and Robert.

•John Lee Hooker, blues musician, born August 22 1917; died June 21 2001

Article Source: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/jun/23/guardianobituaries

 

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John Lee Hooker The Healer

Throughout the 1930s, Hooker resided in Memphis where he hung around Beale Street and sometimes played at house parties and private functions.

He found employment in factories in different cities throughout World War II, wandering around up until he wound up in Detroit in 1948 earning a living at Ford Motor Company. He felt in the right place in the house near the blues dives and saloons on Hastings Street, the heart of black home entertainment on Detroit’s east side.

In a city revered for its piano players, blues guitar players were limited. Trying out in Detroit clubs, singing songs like John Lee Hooker Boom Boom Boom, his appeal grew rapidly, and looking for a louder instrument than his unrefined acoustic guitar, he purchased his very first electrical guitar.

Though he stammered somewhat in his typical speech, he sung his lyrics in a half-spoken style that became his hallmark. Rhythmically, his music was complimentary, a sparse way of delivery typical with early acoustic Delta blues artists. His singing phrasing was less carefully connected to particular bars than a lot of blues vocalists. This casual, rambling style had actually been slowly reducing with the beginning of electrical blues bands from Chicago however, even when not playing solo, Hooker maintained it in his sound.

John Lee Hooker Boogie Chillen

boom boom john lee hookerHooker’s recording profession started in 1948 with the hit single, “Boogie Chillen” cut in a studio near Wayne State University.

Regardless of being illiterate, he was a respected lyricist. In addition to adjusting the sometimes standard blues lyric (such as “if I was chief of police, I would run her out of town”), he easily developed a number of his tunes from scratch.

Recording studios in the 50s seldom paid black artists more than a pittance, so Hooker would invest the night roaming from studio to studio, creating brand-new tunes or variations on his tunes for each studio. Due to his tape-recording agreement, he would tape these tunes under apparent pseudonyms such as “John Lee Booker”.

 

Here’s another perspective:

Known to music fans around the world as the “King of the Boogie,” John Lee Hooker endures as one of the true superstars of the blues genre: the ultimate beholder of cool.

His work is widely recognized for its impact on modern music – his simple, yet deeply effective songs transcend borders and languages around the globe. Each decade of Hooker’s long career brought a new generation of fans and fresh opportunities for the ever-evolving artist. He never slowed down either: As John Lee Hooker entered his 70s, he suddenly found himself in the most successful era of his career – reinvented yet again, and energized as ever, touring and recording up until his passing in 2001.

Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi on August 22, 1917 to a sharecropping family, John Lee Hooker‘s earliest musical influence came from his stepfather, William Moore ̶— a blues musician who taught his young stepson to play the guitar, and whom John Lee later credited for his unique style on the instrument.

By the early 1940s, Hooker had moved north to Detroit by way of Memphis and Cincinnati. By day, he was a janitor in the auto factories, but by night, like many other transplants from the rural Delta, he entertained friends and neighbors by playing at house parties. “The Hook” gained fans around town from these shows, including local record store owner Elmer Barbee. Barbee was so impressed by the young musician that he introduced him to Bernard Besman ̶ a producer, record distributor and owner of Sensation Records.

By 1948, Hooker ̶ now honing his style on an electric guitar ̶ had recorded several songs for Besman, who, in turn, leased the tracks to Modern Records. Among these first recordings was “Boogie Chillun,” (soon after appearing as “Boogie Chillen”) which became a number one jukebox hit, selling over a million copies. This success was soon followed by a string of hits, including “I’m in the Mood,” “Crawling Kingsnake” and “Hobo Blues.” Over the next 15 years, John Lee signed to a new label, Vee-Jay Records, and maintained a prolific recording schedule, releasing over 100 songs on the imprint.

When the young bohemian artists of the 1960s “discovered” Hooker, among other notable blues originators, he found his career taking on a new direction. With the folk movement in high gear, Hooker returned to his solo, acoustic roots, and was in strong demand to perform at colleges and folk festivals around the country. Across the Atlantic, emerging British bands were idolizing Hooker’s work. Artists like the Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Yardbirds introduced Hooker’s sound to new and eager audiences, whose admiration and influence helped build Hooker up to superstar status. By 1970, Hooker had relocated to California and was busy collaborating on several projects with rock acts. One such collaboration was with Canned Heat, which resulted in 1971’s hit record Hooker ’n’ Heat. The double LP became John Lee Hooker’s first charting album.

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, John Lee toured the U.S. and Europe steadily. His appearance in the legendary Blues Brothers movie resulted in a heightened profile once again. Then, at the age of 72, John Lee Hooker released the biggest album of his career, The Healer. The GRAMMY® Award-winning 1989 LP paired contemporary artists (Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and George Thorogood, among others) with Hooker on some of his most famous tracks. The Healer was released to critical acclaim and sold over one million copies. The Hook rounded out the decade as a guest performer with the Rolling Stones, during the national broadcast of their 1989 Steel Wheels tour.

With his recent successes, John Lee entered the 1990s with a sense of renewed inspiration. Not only was the decade a time of celebration and recognition for the legendary artist, but it was also a highly productive era. He released five studio albums over the next few years, including Mr. Lucky, which once again teamed up Hooker with an array of artists; Boom Boom, which aimed to introduce new fans to his classic material; the GRAMMY® Award-winning Chill Out; and a collaboration with Van Morrison, Don’t Look Back, which also garnered two awards at the 1997 GRAMMYs®. Throughout the decade, Hooker’s great body of work and contributions to modern music were being recognized not only by his peers, but also by a younger generation. He became a familiar face in popular culture, with appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman.

In 1990, a massive tribute concert took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden, featuring Hooker and an all-star lineup of guest artists. One year later, John Lee was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, while in 1997, he was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, shortly before his death, John Lee Hooker was recognized with a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award, and just one week before his passing, ever true to form, the bluesman spent his final Saturday night playing a now-legendary show to a packed house at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, CA.

The Hook continues to live on: His music can regularly be heard in TV shows, commercials and films, and many of his tracks have also found a second life sampled in new songs – by the likes of R&B star Brandi, hip-hop legend Chuck D and French electronic musician St Germain, among many others. Most recently, his iconic recording, the 1962 Vee-Jay Records single “Boom Boom,” was inducted into the 2016 GRAMMY® Hall of Fame.

Article Source: http://www.johnleehooker.com/history/biography

 

john lee hooker one bourbon one scotch one beer

Boom Boom John Lee Hooker Lyrics

Boom, boom, boom, boom.
I’m gonna shoot you right down,
Knock you off of your feet,
And take you home with me.
Put you in my house.
Boom, boom, boom, boom.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I love to see you strut
When you’re walking to me.
When you’re talking to me,
That knocks me out.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.
You know I like it like that,
With your baby-talk,
Oh and the way that you walk.
You know it knocks me right down,
Knocks me off of my feet.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
How, how, how, how.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Now, now, now, now.

Songwriters
JOHN LEE HOOKER

Published by
Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Download John Lee Hooker Boom Boom Chords

john lee hooker discography albumsHis early solo tunes were taped by Bernie Besman. John Lee Hooker seldom used a regular basic beat, altering pace to fit the requirements of the tune.

This made it almost difficult to include support tracks of accompanying musicians. As an outcome, Besman would tape-record Hooker, in addition to playing guitar and singing, stomping in addition to the music on a wood combination drum set up.

John Lee Hooker’s guitar playing is a lot like piano Boogie Woogie. He would play the strolling bass pattern with his thumb, stopping to highlight completion of a line with a series of trills, done by fast hammer-ons and pull-offs. The tunes that many characterize in this vein are “Boogie Chillen,” about being 17 and wishing to head out to dance at the Boogie clubs, “Baby Please Don’t Go,” a more common blues tune, summarized by its title, and “Tupelo,” an amazingly sad little tune about the flooding of Tupelo, Mississippi.

He preserved a solo profession, popular with blues and folk music fans of the early 1960s and crossed over to white audiences, providing an early chance to the young Bob Dylan. As he aged, he included a growing number of individuals to atrioventricular bundle, altering his live program from merely Hooker with his guitar to a big band, with Hooker singing.

In 1989 he accompanied a variety of artists, people such asKeith Richards and Carlos Santana to tape-record The Healer, which won a Grammy award. He fell ill prior to a trip of Europe in 2001 and passed away quickly later on at the age of 83. Amongst his stash of awards, John Lee Hooker has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

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