This American blues rock band was launched by Alan Wilson and Bob Hite in 1965. The two blues enthusiasts managed to wow numerous fans with great musicianship and their massive love for blues music. The band’s name originated from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 hit, “Canned Heat Blues,” a song about an alcoholic who was addicted to drinking Sterno. The band became a household name after their performances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals in the late 60’s. In the late 60’s, the band had a line up consisting of Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Henry Vestine, and Harvey Mandel. Bob Hite lived for music and his energy was transmitted to the rest of the band which in turn gave the band a huge following, making them one of the most popular bands of the hippie era. The group’s fame was catapulted by two hits namely “On the Road Again” and “Going Up the Country.” The earlier song was a remake of “Bull Doze Blues” by Henry Thomas, while the latter was a remake of Floyd Jones’ 1953 hit “On the Road Again.” Despite numerous personnel changes in the band, Canned Heat’s legacy is undebatable. The band’s discography features 17 albums and numerous songs. In this article, we take a look at ten of the greatest songs from the Los Angeles blues rock band. Check out our ranking of the best Canned Heat songs of all time.
10. Let’s Work Together
The original version of this song was written and first recorded by Wilbert Harrison in 1962. Canned Heat’s version of the song featured some great vocals and a harmonica from Alan Wilson. The release of Canned Heat’s version of the song was delayed until 1969, largely due to how well the original song by Wilbert Harrison had performed. Nevertheless, the song peaked at #26 on the US Billboard 100.
9. Future Blues
The number nine song on our countdown of the top ten Canned Heat songs is the title song for the group’s 1970 album. The two and a half minutes song sees the group team up with Willie Brown in the record which was released shortly after the death of John Mayall and Allan Wilson. Although most Canned Heat fans may argue the inclusion of this song on our countdown there is no denying its significance in the group’s catalogue.
8. On the Road Again
Coming in at number eight is another of Canned Heat’s classic songs which was adopted from some of the earlier blues songs. Unlike most of the other Canned Heat songs from that era, “On the Road Again, didn’t have Bob Hite as the lead vocalist, but rather Alan Wilson. The song first appeared on the group’s second album, Boogie With Canned Heat but it was later released as a single in 1968. It is one of their most popular songs and also the group’s first song to hit the charts.
7. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
This song was first recorded by Hambone Willie Newbern on 1929 and the song has gone on to be interpolated by numerous Delta and Chicago blues artists. Although Cream’s rendition of the song is the most known, Canned Heat’s version is also quite good. The song appears on Canned Heat’s self titled debut album from 1967.
6. Night Time is the Right Time
Coming in at number six on our countdown of ten classic Canned Heat songs is song which is contained in their 2007 album, Under the Dutch Skies 1970-74. The album was a collection of vintage Canned Heat songs and the inclusion of this song was not a surprise. In this classic, the group displays their musical mastery with great vocals and rhythmic guitar tunes which makes the song sound a little less bluesy.
5. Time Was
Canned Heat’s 1969 album, Hallelujah is arguably their best album to date. “Time Was” is the first among two songs on our list to find its way at number five. The song was sung by Alan Wilson who brings the song to life through his trademark vocals which make the song so groovy and immaculate.
4. Hot Money
We will forever remember “Hot Money” for being the last track released by Canned Heat with Bob Hite still in the band. The song was a little uninspiring which would make you wonder if he and the rest of the group was nigh. The song is featured in their 1978 album, Human Condition.
3. Low Down
Coming in at number three is a song from Canned Heat’s fourth studio album, Hallelujah. The album is widely regarded as Canned Heat’s greatest album, with 1969 being their finest musically. The song is sung by Bob Hite and what a record it turned out to be.
2. Whiskey And Wimmen’
Coming in at number two is the song “Whiskey And Wimmen,” a song that turned out to be one of the most iconic collaborations in blues music history. The song sees Canned Heat team up with John Lee Hooker in a killer record that has truly stood the test of time. John Lee Hooker’s vocals are absolutely amazing, and the way he struts his guitar is legendary.
1. Going Up the Country
Coming in at number one, is the song, “Going Up the Country” which is arguably Canned Heat’s greatest song of all time. The song is widely referred to as a “rural hippie anthem” and it is the band’s signature anthem to date. The song is sampled from Alan Wilson’s 1920s blues song. The song was quite a success in the US charts, peaking at #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.