Canned Heat is an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The group has been noted for its interpretations of blues material and for its efforts to promote interest in this type of music and its original artists. It was launched by two blues enthusiasts Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, who took the name from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 “Canned Heat Blues”, a song about an alcoholic who had desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called “canned heat”, from the original 1914 product name Sterno Canned Heat, After appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals at the end of the 1960s, the band acquired worldwide fame with a lineup consisting of Hite (vocals), Wilson (guitar, harmonica, and vocals), Henry Vestine and later Harvey Mandel (lead guitar), Larry Taylor (bass), and Adolfo de la Parra (drums).
The music and attitude of Canned Heat attracted a large following and established the band as one of the popular acts of the hippie era. Canned Heat appeared at most major musical events at the end of the 1960s, performing blues standards along with their own material and occasionally indulging in lengthy ‘psychedelic’ solos.
Canned Heat’s recent studio albums include Boogie 2000 (1999), and Friends In The Can (2003), which features various guests, including John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Trout, Corey Stevens, Roy Rogers, Mandel, Larry Taylor, and Vestine. Eric Clapton and Dr. John made guest appearances on the Christmas Album (2007). In July 2007, a documentary, Boogie with Canned Heat: The Canned Heat Story, was released, as was a biography of Wilson, Blind Owl Blues, by music historian Rebecca Davis Winters. Here are the Canned Heat songs ranked.
Don’t miss out on the TIMELESS Blues from Canned Heat below! Click to experience the a real classic!
10. Let’s Work Together (Let’s Work Together, 1989)
“Canned Heat’s other major hits were excavated from the 1920’s, so their decision to record their own contemporaneous version of “Let’s Work Together” may be regarded in much the same light; as a plea for solidarity. To be sure the constituencies are subtly different, but then they were ever thus. Coming right at the end of the sixties, with hindsight, any plea for solidarity fell on deaf ears as the counterculture’s disparate elements saw its own demons come back to shaft it; but that’s another story.”
9. Going Up the Country (Living the Blues, 1968)
“Bob Hite was normally the lead vocalist, but it’s Al Wilson’s falsetto that makes this song go. Ironically, Canned Heat tried to be Blues purists, but it was their unique take on the Blues that made songs like this one so successful.”
8. Future Blues (Future Blues 1970)
“Absolutely my favorite hippie blues release. There is not a weak moment in this recording. While one could argue that Canned Heat’s influence was not seminal, I would argue that this recording was one of the most successful protest records in a time of turmoil. Highly recommended.”
7. On the Road Again (Boogie with Canned Heat, 1968)
“Canned Heat’s two classic songs. “On the Road Again” is a slow boogie blues with a heavy druggy drone – get out the incense! And “Goin’ Up the Country” is as freewheelin’ summer hippie as it gets. Just a lovely classic hippie song, with playful flute and nice falsettos vocal from Al Wilson (RIP); the number one song to play when you’re heading off on a road trip. “Goin’ up the country, got to get away/ if I don’t go now, baby I’ll have to stay”.
See more: Canned Heat Albums Ranked
6. Hot Money (Human Condition, 1978)
“The final complete studio album released by Canned Heat with Bob Hite. It’s too bad it’s not better than it is. The band seems a bit uninspired, as though there was some sort of end in sight and they were just recording out of a sense of duty. “
5. Open Up Your Back Door (Human Condition, 1978)
“I’m probably over rating this album just a smidge (there is a lot of filler in the middle her, but god damn it, the guitars on here are just divine. Henry vestine just has this perfect fuzzy acid guitar that makes these frankly generic blues tunes come alive.”
4. Lookin’ for My Rainbow (The New Age, 1973)
“This set is perhaps most notable for the presence of gospel great Clara Ward in her last recorded performance; providing harmony vocals on “Lookin’ For My Rainbow”. Few groups in rock history demonstrated such reverence for the artists that came before them as did Canned Heat.”
3. Night Time is the Right Time (Live at Montreux, 1973)
“Canned Heat was one of those bands that was at the right place at the right time. But unlike many other bands, they had the skill and groove to prove themselves.”
2. Time Was (Hallelujah 1969)
“‘Time Was’ is the A-side, and is sung and written by Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson. This song has a very nice and gentle groove with Blind Owl’s trademark vocals bringing the song to life. The musicianship is wrought with feeling and just damn good. Chalk another one up to the Heat.
1. Low Down (Hallelujah 1969)
“‘Low Down’, which is sung by Bob ‘Big Bear’ Hite. This song sounds kind of like a fast and more modern John Lee Hooker song with Big Bear on vocals. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it also feels like you’ve kinda heard the song before. Not bad, still boogies nicely, but not too original.”