Hooker, John Lee
- Dina M. Bennett
(b Clarksdale, MS, Aug 22, 1917; d Los Altos, CA, June 21, 2001). American blues singer and guitarist. He was first exposed to music at church and constructed his first instrument out of a piece of string and an inner tube. In the 1930s, he moved to Memphis and regularly performed at house parties while occasionally singing in gospel quartets including the Fairfield Four. After World War II, he settled in Detroit where he worked at the Ford Motor Company and played in blues venues and clubs at night. It was during this period that he decided to make the switch from acoustic to electric guitar. He had initially developed a country/rural folk-type blues style on his acoustic guitar, but moved to a more urban style with the electric guitar. In 1948, he recorded his first hit single “Boogie Chillen,” featuring vocals, electric guitar and the sound of his foot tapping to the beat. This recording also featured Hooker’s ...