The Boogie Man
Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi 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.
When the young bohemian audiences of the 1960's discovered Hooker along with other blues originators, he and various he and others made a brief return to folk blues. Young British artist such as the Animals, John Mayall, and the Yardbirds introduced Hooker's sound to the new and eager audiences whose admiration and influence helped build Hooker to superstar status in the mid - 60's England. By 1970 he had moved to California and worked on several projects with rock musicians, notably Van Morrison and Canned Heat. Canned Heat modeled their sound after Hooker's boggie and collaborated with him on several albums and tours.