Canned Heat

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Canned Heat album cover

Canned Heat is a blues-rock band that formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The importance of the group lies not only with their blues-based music, but with their efforts to reintroduce and revive the careers of some of the great old bluesmen.

The group was led by Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals, harmonica). Henry "Sunflower" Vestine also played guitar and was an ex-member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Larry "The Mole" Taylor was their studio bassist, along with drummer Frank Cook for their first album. Canned Heat took their name from Tommy Johnson's 1928 "Canned Heat Blues".

Wilson helped rediscover Son House and accompanied him on his 1965 comeback album. The group also strong-armed their record company (Liberty Records) into getting a contract for overlooked Texas bluesman Albert Collins.

Their debut album Canned Heat was released not long after their appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Adolfo "Fito" De La Parra replaced Frank Cook as drummer for their second album, Boogie with Canned Heat (1968). It was more successful, spawning the hit single "On the Road Again". In 1969 they released the inconsistant double album, Livin' the Blues but it did bring them their biggest hit, "Goin' Up the Country". Guitarist Harvey Mandel replaced Vestine for part of 1969–70. The band appeared at the August 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Festival with their performance appearing in both the album and film release.

The next year was the musical high point for the band. They brought in John Lee Hooker to record the double album Hooker 'N' Heat in May of 1970. This was to be the first album of Hooker's career to make the charts, topping out at number 73 in February of 1971. Unfortunately Wilson had committed suicide in September, 1970, prior to the album's release. The group had one additional hit with a cover of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together". The band continued touring for a time, but was never able to play to more than a small but devoted audience.

Bob Hite died in April, 1981, and by 1989 the trajectories of Hooker and Canned Heat crossed once again. This time they guested on his album, The Healer, which was a big hit. De La Parra leads the current band and Larry Taylor returned in 1994 after leaving in 1970.

Ex-Heat guitarist Harvey Mandel was one of the guitarists who came close to replacing the late Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones, with his efforts appearing on the Stone's album Black and Blue. Mandel continued to record, self releasing albums, and in 2004, oddly enough, recorded a song written by cofounder Rod Underhill, a musician and lawyer who served as the founding music director for the original


  • The Boogie House Tapes, Volume 2, 2004 2-CD set, Ruf Records
  • Friends In The Can, 2003 CD, Ruf Records
  • Blues Band, 2001 LP, 1999 CD, Ruf Records
  • The Boogie House Tapes, 2000 2 CD set, Ruf Records
  • Boogie 2000, 1999 CD, Ruf Records
  • Best of Hooker 'N' Heat, 1996 compilation on CD, EMI Records E2-38207
  • Uncanned: Best of Canned Heat, 1994, EMI/Capitol, two CDs
  • The Best of Canned Heat, 1972 LP, 1990 CD, EMI/Capitol


Charles Shaar Murray, Blues on CD: The Essential Guide (1993) ISBN 1856260844

Fito De La Parra, Living The Blues. Canned Heat's story of Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival (2000) ISBN 0967644909

External links

fr:Canned Heat nl:Canned Heat pt:Canned Heat sv:Canned Heat


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