Boogie rock is a style of blues rock music that developed in the late 1960s.[1] Its key feature is a repetitive driving rhythm, which emphasizes the groove.[1] Boogie rock is distinct from the piano-driven boogie-woogie music popular during the 1920s to 1940s,[2] which was adapted for many early rock and roll and rockabilly songs.[3]


In 1948, American blues artist John Lee Hooker recorded "Boogie Chillen'", an urban electric blues tune derived from early North Mississippi Hill country blues.[2] Musicologist Robert Palmer notes "Hooker wasn't copying piano boogie. He was playing something else—a rocking one-chord ostinato with accents that fell fractionally ahead of the beat."[4] By contrast Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith's popular 1945 instrumental "Guitar Boogie", later dubbed a "hillbilly boogie", was based on the earlier style.[5]

Hooker's "repeated monochord riff" on guitar was adapted by the American rock group Canned Heat for "Fried Hockey Boogie", first released in 1968 on their Boogie with Canned Heat album.[6] Other artists soon followed, with Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" (1969, Spirit in the Sky) and ZZ Top's "La Grange" (1973, Tres Hombres) being two of the more popular songs in the style.[6]

Malcolm Young explained its influence on AC/DC:

The pub scene ... It was like, "Give us a boogie! Give us a boogie!" So everybody played a boogie ... [W]e used to like Canned Heat from way back, and we would just jam on their stuff, around their ideas, at the time, and we'd put a bit of boogie into our own material.[7]


  1. ^ a b AllMusic 2001, p. 2.
  2. ^ a b Palmer 1982, pp. 243–244.
  3. ^ Birnbaum 2012, p. 120.
  4. ^ Palmer 1982, p. 243.
  5. ^ Birnbaum 2012, pp. 121–122.
  6. ^ a b Koda, Cub. "John Lee Hooker: Boogie Chillen' – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Popoff 2004, p. 150.