WUMB December Program Guide

100 Years of John Lee Hooker on The Morning Show!

John Lee Hooker‘s life story is the quintessential American story. Born into a sharecropping family in Mississippi in 1917, Hooker rose to international prominence and fame during a 6 decade career that saw him earn Grammy Awards, induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hooker’s sound was unmatched. He had a singular, signature sound because it had no rules. He literally made it up as he went. The best John Lee Hooker records make you feel like the music could fall apart at any moment. Resolution doesn’t come easy, the ear’s anticipation is rarely met where it’s expected. This is the magic of John Lee Hooker’s best work. It pulls you along.

Then there’s that voice. Deep, soulful, stirring and, yes, stuttering.

Hooker’s style could be problematic for musicians who were not familiar with his idiosyncratic technique. Some were often frustrated trying to keep up, or worse, would restrict what made Hooker Hooker. Playing “by the book” did not work for The Hook.

The good ones though, like Eddie Taylor and Eddie Kirkland, and even Motown’s “Funk Brothers” and Canned Heat, helped him create magic.

On the 100th anniversary of his birth The Morning Show will be spending time with John Lee Hooker classics, from a rare recorded early 40’s house rent party from when he first arrived in Detroit, to his 1948 genre-shaping first hit Boogie Chillen, to his many phases and collaborations throughout his one-of-a-kind, iconic career.

~ Brendan

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