John Lee Hooker Dead At 80

By | June 22, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Blues legend John Lee Hooker died of natural causes as he slept at his home in Los Altos, south of San Francisco. He was 80 years old.

The veteran blues singer recorded more than 100 albums over a career that spanned nearly seven decades. Hooker often recorded under false names, including Texas Slim, John Lee Booker, John Lee Cocker, Delta John, Birmingham Sam, and the Boogie Man. He won a Grammy for a version of “I’m In the Mood,” and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Having recorded his first hit, “Boogie Chillen,” in 1948, Hooker’s long career and distinctive sound influenced countless musicians including Van Morrison, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and ZZ Top. In 1961, the then-unknown Rolling Stones opened for him on a European tour; he also shared a bill that year with Bob Dylan at a club in New York.

Hooker’s 1990 album “The Healer” sold 1.5 million copies and featured duets with Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Robert Cray. Several more albums followed, including “Chill Out,” recorded to celebrate his 75th birthday.

While “retired,” Hooker did live performances until the very end, playing at benefit shows and from time to time dropping in unannounced for impromptu sets in small clubs.

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