Dimples (song)

Dimples (song)
Single by John Lee Hooker
B-side "Baby Lee"
Released August 1956 (1956-08)
Format 10" 78 rpm & 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Chicago, March 1956
Genre Blues
Length 2:09[1][2]
Label Vee-Jay (Cat. no. 205)
Writer(s) John Lee Hooker, James Bracken
John Lee Hooker singles chronology
"Every Night"
"I'm So Worried Baby"

Dimples is a song written and recorded by blues singer-songwriter John Lee Hooker in 1956. Called a "genuine Hooker classic",[3] it is one of his best known songs, with interpretations by several artists.

Original song

"Dimples" was one of the first songs recorded by John Lee Hooker for Vee-Jay Records. Unlike his previous record labels, Vee-Jay saw Hooker as a Jimmy Reed-style performer and in fact provided him with Reed's backup band for two recording sessions in 1955 and 1956. However, when the recording commenced, it became apparent that Hooker's sense of rhythm and timing was uniquely his. The backing musicians – guitarist Eddie Taylor, bassist George Washington, and drummer Tom Whitehead – adapted to his style and by the time "Dimples" was recorded they became "adept at anticipating his capricious moves".[4]

"Dimples" is a moderate-tempo blues that "sounds like a twelve-bar blues with a few beats amputated ... imparting a lopsided feeling ... [that] was precisely the 'hook' that gave the song its odd appeal".[4] Hooker has given at least two different accounts about what inspired the lyrics: in one, he claimed to have written the song about a friend's wife and another where the subject is his own girlfriend. Although "Dimples" just "skimmed the lower reaches of the R&B charts and nudged its way into the pop listings ... it's about as close to pop perfection in two minutes and nine seconds as any '50s bluesman ever got".[1]

Eight years after its initial release, "Dimples" was released in the UK in 1964, where it reached number 23 in the pop chart.[5] In 1970, John Lee Hooker recorded "Dimples" with slightly different lyrics as "I Got My Eyes on You" with Canned Heat for the album Hooker 'n Heat (in 1966, Canned Heat recorded a demo of "Dimples" that was later released on Vintage). During the sessions for Hooker's Boom Boom and Chill Out albums in 1992 and 1995, two attempts at recording "Dimples" with guest performers were made, but were not released.[1] However, a version with Los Lobos was recorded and released on Hooker's 1997 Grammy Award-winning album Don't Look Back.

Other versions

"Dimples" was chosen by The Spencer Davis Group as their May 1964 debut single (b/w "Sittin' and Thinkin'" UK Fontana TF 471), which was later released on I'm a Man (US United Artists UAL 3859). The song was also recorded in 1964 by The Animals and appeared on the albums The Animals (UK) and The Animals on Tour (US). Smokey Wilson (88th Street Blues 1983), The Allman Brothers Band (Dreams released 1989), James Blood Ulmer (Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions 2001), and Doyle Bramhall (Fitchburg Street 2003) are among those who later recorded the song.


  1. ^ a b c Murray, Charles Shaar (2002). Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 191–92. ISBN 978-0312270063. 
  2. ^ Although the Vee-Jay single label lists the running time as 2:57, most album reissues list 2:11–2:15.
  3. ^ Dahl, Bill (1996). All Music Guide to the Blues. Miller Freeman Books. p. 116. ISBN 0879304243. 
  4. ^ a b Gioia, Ted (2008). Delta Blues. W. W. Norton. p. 253–54. ISBN 978-0-393-33750-1. 
  5. ^ "John Lee Hooker – Singles". Official Charts Company. http://www.theofficialcharts.com/artist/_/john%20lee%20hooker/. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 

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