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John Lee Hooker: His Tremendously Broad Blues Career

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The popular American blues singer and songwriter, John Lee Hooker was born to a musical family in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on August 22, 1917. He influenced the blues scene with his very distinctive performance and personality. John’s rhythm and casual half-speech became his musical mark. He jumped to fame after working in a factory; Hooker moved to Detroit and lived there from 1943 to 1969. His first recorded single was called “Boogie Chillen” and became a big hit in 1948.

His ability to formulate his lyrics and give them the specificity and uniqueness that other musicians have not been able to reach produced such an impact over the grateful audiences that he increased considerably his popularity. Unfortunately, by the time he was beginning his professional career, John Lee Hooker was paid a trifle just because he was black; therefore, he had to wander from studio to studio and record his songs under different pseudonyms.

His creativity was constantly changing; he usually modified the patterns, harmonies and lyrics and rearranged them depending on many aspects or reasons, or simply because he wanted to. Among the most popular songs of his repertoire we can mention: “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Boogie Chillen”, and “Tupelo”. After many years of success, in 1989, he got together with other fellow musicians, such as Carlos Santana and Keith Richards; they recorded the Grammy Winning song “The Healer”.

He recorded more than eighty albums through his whole musical career; actually his vast contribution to such a broad production was widely awarded. In 2000, Hooker was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sadly, John Lee Hooker passed away at the age of 83, June 21, 2001, just a few months after finishing a tour around Europe, where he enjoyed performing his most important singles and sharing his passion with his followers and new generations.

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