This year marks the 75th anniversary of the release of John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boogie Chillen’. Recorded in Detroit in September 1948 by Bernard Besman – who had his own Sensation label – it was licensed to Modern Records in Los Angeles and released on 3rd November. The flip side was ‘Sally May’.
To say that the single caught fire is an understatement. It is believed that ‘Boogie Chillen’’ shifted in the region of a million copies in 1949 placing Hooker on the map as a blues guitarist and singer of the first rank – where he stayed until his death in 2001.
The original was, of course, released as a 78rpm single. In 2020 we issued ‘Boogie Chillen’ with ‘Boogie Chillen’ #2 on the flip as a limited edition of 500 copies that played at 78rpm.
We now present ‘Boogie Chillen’’ and ‘Boogie Chillen’ #2’ as a limited edition 7” single that plays at 45rpm. Despite being 75 years old, this classic recording still sounds so fresh and rhythmically propulsive it is hard to believe that you are listening to one man and his guitar playing live and stomping his feet in a room. Besman caught lightening as it flashed, just like Sam Philips did some years later with Elvis Presley in Sun Studios.
There are classics. There are stone cold classics. And there is ‘Boogie Chillen’’.