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John Lee Hooker

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Coahoma County, Mississippi (1917 – 2001)

John Lee Hooker (Coahoma County, Mississippi, August 22, 1917 – Los Altos, California, June 21, 2001) was a highly influential American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter.

John Lee Hooker could be said to embody his own unique genre of the , often incorporating the piano style and a driving rhythm into his masterful and idiosyncratic blues guitar and singing. His best known songs include “Boogie Chillen” (1948) and “Boom Boom” (1962).

There is some debate as to the year of John Lee Hooker’s birth, 1915, 1917, 1920, and 1923 have all been cited, 1917 (the date on his grave marker in Oakland, California) is the one most commonly cited although Hooker himself claimed, at times, 1920.

Hooker was the youngest of the eleven children of William Hooker (1871–1923), a sharecropper and a Baptist preacher, and Minnie Ramsey (1875–?).
Hooker and his siblings were home-schooled. They were permitted to listen only to religious songs, with his earliest musical exposure being the spirituals sung in church.
In 1921, his parents separated. The next year, his mother married William Moore, a blues singer who provided John’s first introduction to the guitar (and whom John would later credit for his distinctive playing style). The year after that (1923), John’s natural father died; and at age 15, John ran away from home, never to see his mother and stepfather again.

He was a cousin of Earl Hooker,

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