John Lee Hooker, guitarist
Guitarist

John Lee Hooker

August 22, 1917, Clarksdale, MS ~ June 21, 2001, Los Altos, CA

This afternoon, Hooker is clad in a well-tailored black suit with bright red shirt, and when he smiles, which is frequently, one sees more gums than teeth. But although physically he certainly is an old, old man - much older than the houses here - in some ways Hooker seems eternally young. Musically, for instance, he hasn't changed since the days when he wrote groundbreaking electric blues numbers like Boom Boom and Boogie Chillun. Those songs are both ancient and contemporary, providing a blueprint for music that doesn't really have a set time frame or era. Blues musicians Jonny Lang and Ben Harper, for example, who appear on Hooker's new album, The Best of Friends, play music that uses his chords and his feelings, and both musicians are a quarter Hooker's age. ~ Metroactive music: Hooked on the Blues, John Lee Hooker ~ October 29, 1998 © Metro Active

He communicated everything through the sound of his voice and his guitar; and he had an unparalleled command of emotional nuance. ~ Salon.com: John Lee Hooker Obituary ~ June 27, 2001 © Salon

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Honoring musicians. Celebrating birthdays. Remembering death days.

August 22, 1998 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (4) Sarah McLachlan, Adia ~ #2 (2) Usher, My Way ~ #1 (1) Brandy & Monica, The Boy Is Mine

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Hooker's music stayed close to its Mississippi Delta roots. Usually playing an electric guitar with a menacing hint of distortion, he picked barbed, syncopated guitar riffs that went on to become cornerstones of rock. Electrified for tough urban crowds, they harked back to the rural South and to West Africa. “I don't play a lot of fancy guitar,” he once told an interviewer. “The kind of guitar I want to play is mean, mean, mean licks.” And with his deep, implacable voice, he sang of lust and loneliness, rage and despair in songs so bleak that they sometimes made him cry behind his dark glasses. ~ New York Times: John Lee Hooker Obituary ~ June 22, 2001 © New York Times

John Lee Hooker ~ Awarded a 2000 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Lee Hooker ~ Boogie Chillun' (Hooker) ~ Ranked #332 RIAA Top 365 Songs Of The Century in 2001.



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