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Artist of the MonthArtist of the Month, January 1996

John Lee Hooker

H.E.A.R. is proud to honor the great bluesman John Lee Hooker as our December Artist of the Month. 1995 has been a big year for Hooker. He celebrated his 75th birthday and has released CHILL OUT. Recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area, CHILL OUT showcases Hooker's hypnotic singing and inimitable guitar playing. The recording also featured guest appearances by Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, and the famed R & B pianist Charles Brown.

John Lee Hooker was born in Mississippi 1920 to a sharecropper family and he's one of a handful of artists who took the blues music from the Mississippi Delta and shared it with the world. Without the music of the blues there would never have been rock and roll, and Hooker's stature as one of the musical giants was cemented forever when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

In the early 1940's John Lee Hooker left the Delta for Detroit and in 1948 he released Boogie Chillen. The song became a number one jukebox hit and a million seller. Hooker followed this success with an even bigger hit, I'm in the Mood. In the 50's and 60's Hooker released more than 100 songs on Vee Jay Records and when he was discovered by such English musicians as John Mayall, The Animals, and The Yardbirds the impact of his blues playing spread even further. In 1970 Hooker moved to California and worked closely with Van Morrison and Canned Heat, the blues band that modeled their music on Hooker's sound.

John Lee is not touring anymore, though he did make a recent appearance at the San Francisco Blues Festival where he was the Honored Guest. But staying around his San Francisco Bay Area home has not slowed him down. He lends his considerable presence and reputation to help many organizations working to help people less fortunate. He has worked for Bread and Roses, Project Open Hand, Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, Blues Against Blindness, and Magic Johnson's Aid's Foundation. He's also helping us at H.E.A.R. to continue our work educating people on the importance of hearing health.

John Lee Hooker is truly a musical treasure. In a day when laudatory terms are cast about much too easily, it's not at all a stretch to call John Lee Hooker a Living Legend. H.E.A.R. is proud to have John Lee Hooker as our Artist of the Month for December and we encourage you to listen to CHILL OUT and all of Hooker's extraordinary music.


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