John Lee Hooker Albums Ranked

John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1912, or 1917 – June 21, 2001) was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. The son of a sharecropper, he rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues. Hooker often incorporated other elements, including talking blues and early North Mississippi Hill country blues. He developed his own driving-rhythm boogie style, distinct from the 1930s–1940s piano-derived boogie-woogie. Hooker was ranked 35 in Rolling Stones 2015 list of 100 greatest guitarists. Some of his best-known songs include “Boogie Chillen'” (1948), “Crawling King Snake” (1949), “Dimples” (1956), “Boom Boom” (1962), and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” (1966). Several of his later albums, including The Healer (1989), Mr. Lucky (1991), Chill Out (1995), and Don’t Look Back (1997), were album chart successes in the U.S. and UK. The Healer (for the song “I’m In The Mood”) and Chill Out (for the album) both earned him Grammy wins s well as Don’t Look Back, which went on to earn him a double-Grammy win for Best Traditional Blues Recording and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (with Van Morrison). Here are all John Lee Hooker albums ranked.

Don’t miss out on the TIMELESS John Lee Hooker music below! Click to experience the legendary songs of the “King of Boogie”

10. John lee hooker plays and sings the blues (1961)

“JLH owns Muddy’s “baby please don’t go” and this cd has my fav version by him
This is a great early raw essential soulful hungry primitive significant cd of JLHooker at his boogie best
Authentic blooze !!!”

9. Travelin (1960)

“Travelin’ is one of the best recordings by John Lee Hooker, no doubt. Pure and primitive blues with that greatness of the master. The edition, in vinyl replica format, has an exceptional sound; and the folder, notes and envelope of the cd are great. The album contains two albums, Travelin’ himself and I’m John Lee Hooker as extra tracks. The recordings of the Vee-Jay era were very good, technically perfect, and on this record the old Boogie Man is in a state of grace.”

8. That’s My Story (1960)

“One of the greatest blues albums of all time. Must be heard on vinyl. I don’t care how happy you are, listening to this album will make you happier.”

7. Burnin (1962)

“Anyway, “Burnin'” is still one of the Hook’s better albums. Recorded with a full band (drums, bass, seconds guitar, piano and even a tenor sax), it marked a departure from the sparse backing on previous John Lee Hooker sides. Some may prefer him alone, just a guitar and a piece of plywood to stomp on, but if you like band-backed Hook this is a very good place to get some (as are “I’m John Lee Hooker” and “It Serves Me Right To Suffer”).”

6. Chill Out (1995)

“This is a fantastic blend of some great, raw, old-fashioned blues and some frasher, more modern interpretations of what the blues can be. The outstanding first track is a fine example of the latter (as is the re-interpretation of one bourbon, one scotch and one beer), Tupelo is a magnificent example of the latter.
It’s a great introduction to the work of an all-time great.”

See more: Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums Ranked

5. Mr Lucky (1991)

“This is a must have for any serious lover of the Blues and John Lee Hooker. It is this is the best of his later recordings. It is a classic and the album cover alone capture the heart and soul of the man as well as the recording itself. “

4. It Serves You Right To Suffer (1966)

“As a big fan of upbeat, rockabilly, and hill country style blues, this is my favorite John Lee Hooker album. I wish it were longer, but it’s great the whole way through. It also has down tempo, sadder songs because obviously, it’s the blues. All in all a good mix and a great album if you want to get a bit of almost everything John Lee Hooker has to offer. If you want to hear Hooker’s acoustic guitar playing, then this probably isn’t the album you’d be looking for though.”

3. The Healer (1989)

“Hands down – my favorite blues cd. When Im in the mood for blues, this one goes on first – always. Every song taps a well spring of truth for anyone who personally knows love, loss, pain, regret, and who dreams. The album title refers to the Blues as The Healer….John Lee Hooker says that on the insert. 10 songs, songs 4-10 John Lee wrote. Bonnie Raitt never sounded more sultry than with “the Hook” singing Im in the Mood. Other special guests Santana on The Healer, Robert Cray (another boues fav)on guitar on Baby Lee, Canned Heat, Los Lobos, George Thorogood on guitar on Salle Mae, and Charlie Musselwhite on harp on Thats Alright &Cuttin Out. The entire cd flows but songs 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10 are reason enough to add this cd to your collection. Who doesnt agree with song 10) No Substitute…there is no substitute for love? My only complaint : the songs arent long enough making the cd about 45-50 minutes.”

2. I’M JOHN LEE HOOKER (1959)

“I have the vinyl of this release by Hooker and it is one of my favorites. Classics like Dimples, Hobo Blues, Boogie Chillun, I’m In The Mood and Crawling King Snake stack up with the best of John Lee. Some of these songs have a backing band, some of them just Hooker with his guitar and his feet tapping. It is his best album released on Vee Jay, in my opinion. If you can find this, I highly suggest you get it. You will not be disappointed.”

1. House of the Blues (1959)

“However, in spite of all that, I consider this an essential recording because 1) the songs are amazing and heartbreaking and 2) Hooker’s voice is the voice of the real deep blues, someone who has lived these stories, somehow survived, and is here to testify. This isn’t the first Hooker album I’d buy (I prefer “It Serves You Right to Suffer” and “Urban Blues” as starting places–they have all of the above and they sound great), but, as you devotion to Hooker broadens and deepens (and why wouldn’t it?) and you further expire the Hooker catalog, you’ll want to add this one to your collection, warts and all.”