Home Artists - A to K Artists - J John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker was born on a sharecropper farm in Clarkesdale, Mississippi in 1917 and became – with his distinctive heavily-rhythmic boogie style – the most celebrated Chicago bluesman of the 1950s.

He recorded under a number of pseudonyms during the 50s, and made some memorable records including; Boom Boom, Boogie Chillen’DimplesSugar Mamma, and I’m Mad Again.

johnleehooker_6783

Hooker’s hypnotic chug is one of music’s most recognisable sounds – a minimalist blues that left an imprint on imaginations as diverse as those of Keith Richards and Nick Cave.

Like the best ideas, it’s simple: often just a single chord accompanied by a husky purr. But it took Hooker a long time to devise. He first picked up a guitar as a 13-year-old in rural Mississippi and made his recording debut in 1948, aged 31.

Once he started, however, he made up for lost time, recording for a dozen labels over the next decade, under his own name as well as several aliases, working consistently up until his death in June 2001.