Blues enthusiasts and avid record collectors Bob Hite and Alan Wilson came together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, a boogie-rock band heavily rooted in the blues tradition. Canned Heat built their cult following by being at all the right places, that's to say the band seemed to be at all the major festivals in the '60s, including appearances at Monterey and Woodstock. With Hite on vocals and Wilson manning the guitar and harmonica, Canned Heat was filled out with a rotating door of musicians, but it's most notable lineup included Henry Vestine also playing guitar, Larry Taylor on bass, and Adolfo de la Parra on the drums. The band's breakthrough came with the release of their second album, Boogie with Canned Heat, which included an updated version of "On the Road Again." a song which enjoyed worldwide success and landed number one on the charts in most markets, finally giving the blues song its due.
Canned Heat soon went on to lease a Hollywood club they called the Kaleidoscope, where they accepted the role of house band and hosted other acts ranging from Sly and the Family Stone to the Grateful Dead.
Canned Heat's next album, Living the Blues, included their most well known and most successful song "Going Up the Country," which went number one in 25 countries and was heavily featured in Michael Wadleigh's documentary of Woodstock. Sadly, shortly after playing Woodstock and at the height of their popularity, Canned Heat suffered the loss of Alan Wilson, who passed away under "mysterious circumstances," which many attributed to drug abuse.
Hite carried on Canned Heat with varying reconstructions of the band before he too passed away in 1981 from a heart seizure. Although missing its two founding members, the band and its remaining contingent continued to write, record, and tour as Canned Heat. Today, Canned Heat's popularity endures, particularly in Europe, and the band has been astonishingly resilient, releasing new material in every decade since their formation in the '60s.