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John Lee Hooker: King Of the Boogie

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To commemorate what would have been legendary GRAMMY-winning blues artist John Lee Hooker’s 100th birthday, the GRAMMY Museum presents the special traveling exhibit, John Lee Hooker: King Of The Boogie. Presented in conjunction with the John Lee Hooker Estate and Craft Recordings, the exhibit originally opened at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi—Hooker’s home state—in 2017, the year of Hooker’s centennial.

Items featured in the exhibit include, among other pieces:

  • A rare 1961 Epiphone Zephyr—one of only 13 made that year—identical to the '61 Zephyr played by John Lee Hooker. Plus, a prototype of Epiphone’s soon-to-be-released Limited Edition 100th Anniversary John Lee Hooker Zephyr signature guitar
  • Instruments such as the Gibson ES-335, Hohner HJ5 Jazz, and custom Washburn HB35, all of which were played by Hooker
  • The Best Traditional Blues Recording GRAMMY Hooker won, with Bonnie Raitt, for “I’m In The Mood” at the 32nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1990
  • Hooker’s Best Traditional Blues Album GRAMMY for Don’t Look Back, which was co-produced by Van Morrison and Mike Kappus and won at the 40th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1998
  • A letter to Hooker from former President Bill Clinton
  • The program from Hooker’s memorial service, which took place on June 27, 2001, in Oakland, Calif.
  • Rare photos of Hooker with Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Taj Mahal, Roy Rogers, and Carlos Santana
  • Clothing items and performance outfits worn by Hooker

John Lee Hooker is gone but not forgotten. In collaboration with the GRAMMY Museum and our partners, the John Lee Hooker family is pleased and honored to be able to bring to the public the artifacts in this exhibit, donated not just by family but by his very dear friends and associates. This centennial is a celebration of John Lee Hooker's amazing life and his love of the music that he shared with the world. — Diane & Zakiya.

To celebrate 100 years of Hooker's music, in 2017 Craft Recordings issued a series of titles, including Whiskey & Wimmen: John Lee Hooker's Finest—a 16-track collection of songs from the prime of Hooker’s career such as “Boom Boom" and "Dimples." The releases culminated with a centennial CD box set titled King Of The Boogie, which offers 100 career-spanning hits and rarities, plus previously unreleased material.

In 2018, Epiphone and the Hooker estate will celebrate the “King of the Boogie” with the Limited-Edition John Lee Hooker 100th Anniversary Zephyr Outfit. Made with the cooperation of Hooker's family, the new Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Zephyr Outfit is a faithful replica of Hooker's rare 1961 Epiphone Zephyr, one of only 13 made that year. Only 45 Zephyrs were produced between 1959 and 1963. Visit Epiphone.com for details.

About John Lee Hooker

With a prolific career that spanned more than five decades, John Lee Hooker remains a foundational figure in the development of modern music, having influenced countless artists around the globe with his simple, yet deeply effective style. Known to music fans around the world as the “King of the Boogie,” Hooker endures as one of the true superstars of the blues: the ultimate beholder of cool. His work is widely recognized for its impact on modern music—his simple, yet deeply effective songs transcend borders and languages around the globe.

Among Hooker’s first recordings were “Boogie Chillun,” (soon after appearing as “Boogie Chillen”) which became a No. 1 jukebox hit, selling more than 1 million copies. He followed with a string of hits, including “I'm In The Mood,” “Crawlin' King Snake,” and “Hobo Blues.”

Across the Atlantic, emerging British bands were idolizing Hooker's work. Artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Yardbirds introduced Hooker's sound to new and eager audiences, whose admiration and influence helped build Hooker up to superstar status. By 1970, Hooker had relocated to California and was busy collaborating on several projects with rock acts. One such collaboration was with rock band Canned Heat, which resulted in 1971's hit record Hooker  'N Heat. The double LP became Hooker's first charting album.

At 72, Hooker released the biggest album of his career, The Healer. The 1989 GRAMMY-nominated LP featured contemporary artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos, and George Thorogood. In the 1990s Hooker released five studio albums, including Mr. Lucky, which once again teamed Hooker with an array of artists; Boom Boom, which aimed to introduce new fans to his classic material; the GRAMMY-winning Chill Out; and a collaboration with Van Morrison, Don't Look Back, which also garnered two GRAMMYs. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and in 1997 he was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, shortly before his death, Hooker was recognized with a Recording Academy™ Lifetime Achievement Award.

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