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Canned Heat

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Los Angeles, United States (1965 – present)

Canned Heat is a blues-rock/boogie band that formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The group has been noted for its own interpretations of blues material as well as for efforts to promote the interest in this type of music and its original artists. It was launched by two blues enthusiasts, Alan Wilson (1943 – 1970) and Bob Hite (1943 – 1981), who took the name from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 Canned Heat Blues, a song about an alcoholic who has desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called “canned heat”. After appearances at Monterey and Woodstock, at the end of the ’60s the band had acquired worldwide notoriety with a lineup consisting of Bob Hite, vocals, Alan Wilson guitar, harmonica and vocals, Henry Vestine (1944 – 1997) or Harvey Mandel on lead guitar, Larry Taylor on bass, and Adolfo De La Parra on drums.

Since the early ’70s numerous personnel changes have occurred and today, in the fifth decade of the band’s existence, Fito de la Parra is the only original member from the glorious epoch. He has authored a book about the band’s career. Larry Taylor, whose presence in the band has not been steady, is the other surviving member from the earliest lineups. Harvey Mandel, Walter Trout and Junior Watson are among the guitarists who gained notoriety for playing in later editions of the band. British blues pioneer John Mayall has frequently found musicians for his band among former Canned Heat members.

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