BMG Purchases Catalog of Blues Icon John Lee Hooker

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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

The agreement covers the entire publishing catalog of Hooker, who died on June 21, 2001, including song “Boom Boom,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” and “Boogie Chillen’,” Hooker’s recorded and performance royalty income, and a selection of the artist’s recorded catalog spanning 1980 album Alone, Vol. 1 through Black Night Is Falling in 2020. 

Some rights will remain within a third party, but BMG—which also managed 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 portion of Hooker’s extended catalog of music.

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

“As the longtime managers of the John Lee Hooker estate, JAM, Inc. was happy to help the estate and BMG conclude this transaction,” said Jeff Jampol, CEO, JAM, Inc. in a statement. “We are very pleased that an artist-first company like BMG will be the stewards of this great legacy moving forward, and we are grateful to remain in a consulting and management role of the John Lee Hooker legacy, in partnership with BMG, moving forward. This is a rare triple-win for everyone: the Hooker family, BMG, and for the millions of John Lee Hooker fans all across the world. We can’t wait to see – and be a part of what’s coming next!”

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

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

Known as the “King of the Boogie,” Hooker’s earlier recordings like “Boogie Chillen” (1948) hit No. 1 and sold a million copies and followed more 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 ’80s, Hooker continued to tour and even made a cameo in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers as a street busker singing “Boom Boom” and released his biggest album The Healer, featuring Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, George Thorogood and more, which earned him a Grammy award. 

Throughout, the 1990s Hooker continued to release more music including Mr. Lucky in 1991, Boom Boom in 1992, the Grammy-winning Chill Out in 1995, and his collaboration with Van Morrison, in 1997, Don’t Look Back, which also picked up two Grammy awards.

A five-time Grammy award winner, shortly before his death, Hooker was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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

Photo: Courtesy of the John Lee Hooker Estate

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