John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker
Los Angeles Times

Stars

John Lee Hooker
Music: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Blues Musician
Born Aug. 22, 1917 in Clarksdale, Miss.
Died June 21, 2001 in Los Altos, CA

There’s no mistaking the guttural “how, how, how, how” growl or the stinging electric guitar of the original “Boogie Chillen” blues great, John Lee Hooker. Like others in the remarkable crop of musicians born and raised in the Mississippi Delta in the early 20th century, Hooker used music as an escape from his hardscrabble surroundings in the deep south, spreading his name and music among blues lovers not just around the nation, but throughout the world thanks to hits like the explosive “Boom Boom.”

With his signature dark glasses and stylish suits, Hooker came to embody the image of the successful urban blues man, and his scorching guitar work was a key influence to countless blues and rock players who followed in his wake.

High-profile collaborations with younger-generation admirers Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt earned him two Grammy Awards, and he scored another pair of blues category trophies for a couple of his own albums from the mid-‘90s.

Late in life, he even became a low-key media star after landing a role in “The Blues Brothers” movie in 1980, appearing periodically on TV shows such as “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and starring in commercials for soft drinks and denim jeans.

The Recording Academy gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award a year before his death.

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