Cover image for Boogie Man : the adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American twentieth century
Boogie Man : the adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American twentieth century
Murray, Charles Shaar.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
x, 499 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.H635 M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML420.H635 M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
ML420.H635 M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML420.H635 M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Acclaimed writer Charles Shaar Murray's Boogie Man is the authorized and authoritative biography of an extraordinary musician. Murray was given unparalleled access to Hooker, and he lets the man from Clarksdale, Mississippi, tell his own story. "Everything you read on album covers is not true, and every album reads different," he told Murray. Murray helps Hooker set the record straight, disentangling the myths and legends from truths so rock-ribbed that we understand, as if for the first time, why they have provided the source for a lifetime of unforgettable sound.Murray weaves together Hooker's life and music to reveal their indissoluble bonds. Yet Boogie Man is far more than merely an accomplished and brilliant biography of one man; it gives an account of an entire art form. Grounded in a time and place in American culture, the blues are universal, and in the hands of the greatest practitioners its power resides in the miracle of using despair to transcend it. "The preacher's mantle," Murray tells us, "passes to the bluesman." This bluesman traveled a hard road out of the American South, from obscurity to adulation and back-and back again. John Lee Hooker has seen it all and sung it all, and his music is both a living legacy and an American treasure. Here is the book that does him and his music full justice.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

John Lee Hooker became an overnight sensation in the `80s after more than 40 years at his craft. The springboard for his "discovery" was the Grammy-winning album The Healer, which featured Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana among other younger musicians. This gambit, too, was not new, for Hooker had recorded Hooker `n' Heat with Canned Heat in the late '60s--a truly seminal album. Hooker is one of the last surviving bluesmen with a direct lineage from the Delta blues tradition and for years was king of Detroit's blues scene. Murray's extensive bio goes all the way back to the beginning in a sprawling literary effort worthy of Hooker's lengthy career. Like many American blues artists, Hooker was revered by the early `60s English rockers, yet unlike Muddy Waters, widespread pop music interest in Hooker was slow to build. Nevertheless, Hooker's music is a national treasure; anybody who has ever boogied to George Thorogood's recording of Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" or rocked out to ZZ Top's early recordings has heard the man's influence. Now they can read his life story in depth and celebrate Hooker and his music in a way that many of his contemporaries never lived to enjoy. --Mike Tribby

Library Journal Review

Murray (Crosstown Traffic) has written a sprightly and informative authorized biography of blues legend Hooker. Liberally sampling from his interviews with Hooker, other blues artists, family, and friends, the author traces the bluesman's childhood, migration to Detroit, first successes with "Boogie Chillen" and "I'm in the Mood," and re-emergence during the early 1960s folk boom. Hooker's growing popularity during the British and later American electric blues-rock craze, his travels on the grueling blues circuit from 1974 to 1988, and his commercial success with 1989's The Healer are recounted in detail. In addition, Murray provides a balanced, intimate look at Hooker's personal relationships and establishes a social context for his life, describing the segregated South of Hooker's youth, the blues scene in postwar Chicago, Motown, and the 1967 Detroit riots. Though it doesn't unearth new material, this work is thoroughly researched and entertaining. Highly recommended to musical fans and scholars alike.DDave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.