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BMG buys blues icon John Lee Hooker’s catalog

BMG has acquired the musical interests of American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist John Lee Hooker.

The deal covers the entire publishing catalog of Hooker, who died on June 21, 2001, including the song “Boom Boom”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and “Boogie Chillen'”, earnings from Hooker’s recorded and performance royalties, and a selection from the artist’s recorded catalog covering the 1980 album Alone, flight. 1 by Dark night falls in 2020.

Some rights will remain with a third party, but BMG – which also handled the rights to blues artists on House, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Mississippi Fred McDowell – will now oversee a large part of Hooker’s extensive catalog of music.

Hooker joins a growing line of artists who recently joined the BMG family, including Tina Turner, Mick Fleetwood, ZZ Top and Mötley Crüe.

“As longtime managers of the John Lee Hooker estate, JAM, Inc. was pleased to assist the estate and BMG in completing this transaction,” JAM, Inc. CEO Jeff Jampol said in a statement. “We are very pleased that an artist-focused company like BMG will be stewards of this great legacy in the future, and we are grateful to continue in an advisory and stewardship role for the legacy of John Lee Hooker, in partnership with BMG, to move forward. . This is a rare triple win for everyone: the Hooker family, BMG and for the millions of John Lee Hooker fans around the world. We can’t wait to see – and be a part of what’s to come!”

Thomas Scherer, BMG President, Repertoire and Marketing, added, “BMG is proud to be the definitive home to the music of John Lee Hooker, one of popular music’s primary inspirations and cornerstones. BMG will ensure that the legacy of John Lee Hooker is honored and respected wherever and whenever John Lee Hooker’s music is used, performed, recorded or sold.

Inducted into the Blue Hall of Fame in 1991, Hooker was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, then presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997.

Known as “King of the Boogie”, Hooker’s early recordings like “Boogie Chillen” (1948) reached number 1 and sold a million copies and followed other hits like “I ‘m in the Mood”, “Crawling Kingsnake”, which was also covered by The Doors, “Hobo Blues” and “Boom Boom”. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hooker continued to tour and even made an appearance in the 1980 film. The Blues Brothers as a street musician singing “Boom Boom” and released his greatest album The healer, featuring Grammy Award-winning Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, George Thorogood and more.

Throughout the 1990s, Hooker continued to release more music, including Mr Lucky in 1991, Boom Boom in 1992, the Grammy winner Relax in 1995, and his collaboration with Van Morrison, in 1997, Do not look backwho also won two Grammy awards.

The recipient of five Grammy Awards, shortly before his death, Hooker received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2020, Living in Montreux was released, featuring Hooker’s performances in 1983 and 1990 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1983 and 1990.

Photo: Courtesy of John Lee Hooker Estate