John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom

I wanted to throw some blues in this morning. I first heard Hooker’s version of the song while watching the Blues Brothers. I became an instant fan the second I heard it. It was written by John lee Hooker.

Boom Boom was the song that crossed over, marking his only entry on the US Hot 100 and becoming his signature song.

The song was released in 1962 and peaked at #16 in the Billboard  R&B Charts and #60 in the Billboard 100.

Hooker recorded for Vee-Jay but members of Motown’s house band…The Funk Brothers… played on this. The Funk Brothers were great musicians and played on hundreds of hit records, but Motown didn’t pay them very well, so they would take gigs at other labels in the Detroit area to make extra money.

In 1992, this was used in a UK ad for Levi’s jeans. It was re-released that year and peaked at #16 in the UK charts and #24 in New Zealand.

In 1964 the Animals took the song to #43 in the Billboard 100 and #14 in Canada.

John Lee Hooker: “I used to play at this place called the Apex Bar in Detroit. There was a young lady there named Luilla. She was a bartender there. I would come in there at night and I’d never be on time. Every night the band would beat me there. Sometimes they’d be on the bandstand playing by the time I got there. I’d always be late and whenever I’d come in she’d point at me and say, ‘Boom Boom, you’re late again.’ And she kept saying that. It dawned on me that that was a good name for a song. Then one night she said, ‘Boom boom, I’m gonna shoot you down.’ She gave me a song but she didn’t know it.

I took that thing and I hummed it all the way home from the bar. At night I went to bed and I was still thinking of it. I got up the next day and put one and one together, two and two together, trying to piece it out – taking things out, putting things in. I finally got it down right, got it together, got it down in my head. Then I went and sang it, and everybody went, Wow! Then I didn’t do it no more, not in the bar. I figured somebody would grab it before I got it copyrighted. So I sent it to Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress, and I got it copyrighted. After I got it copyrighted I could do it in the bar. So then if anybody got the idea to do it I had them by the neck, because I had it copyrighted. About two months later I recorded it. I was on Vee-Jay then. And the record shot straight to the top. Then, after I did it, the Animals turned around and did it. That barmaid felt pretty good. She went around telling everybody I got John Lee to write that song. I gave her some bread for it, too, so she was pretty happy.”

From Songfacts

John Lee Hooker first recorded in 1948, and the next year released his classic “Boogie Chillen,” which eventually sold over a million copies. In the ’50s, he recorded under several different names (“Delta John” and “Birmingham Sam” among them) and refined his craft with constant live performances. By 1962, he was signed to Vee-Jay Records, who teamed him up with seasoned session players and tried to bring his music to a wider audience.

Hooker performed this when he appeared in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. It was the only movie Hooker ever appeared in.

Many blues bands have covered this over the years, including The Animals and The Yardbirds. It has become a blues standard.

Hooker didn’t play this live for a long time because he feared that he wouldn’t do it justice. He finally played it in his last two shows before his death.

This was used in a 2002 commercial for The Gap. In the ad, it was performed on roller skates by Baba Oje, a former member of Arrested Development. The advertising campaign, dubbed “For Every Generation,” used a variety of artists, including Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, and Natalie Imbruglia.

Boom Boom

Boom, boom, boom, boom
I’m gonna shoot you right down
Knock you off of your feet
And take you home with me
Put you in my house
Boom, boom, boom, boom

Ow ow ow ow ow
Hmm hmm hmm
Hmm hmm hmm hmm
I love to see you strut
Up and down the floor
When you’re talking to me
That baby talk
I like it like that
Oh yeah

Talk that talk
Walk that walk

Won’t you walk that walk?
And talk that talk
And whisper in my ear
Tell me that you love me
I love that talk
When you talk like that
You knock me out
Right off my feet
Ho ho ho ho

Well, talk that talk
And walk that walk
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Talk that talk, babe