Canned Heat is an American blues/boogie rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1965.
The group has been noted for its own interpretations of blues material as well as for efforts to promote the interest in this type of music and its original artists. It was launched by two blues enthusiasts, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, who took the name from Tommy Johnson's 1928 "Canned Heat Blues", a song about an alcoholic who had desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called "canned heat". After appearances at Monterey and Woodstock, at the end of the 1960s the band acquired worldwide fame with a lineup consisting of Bob Hite, vocals, Alan Wilson, guitar, harmonica and vocals, Henry Vestine (or Harvey Mandel) on lead guitar, Larry Taylor on bass, and Adolfo de la Parra on drums.
The music and attitude of Canned Heat afforded them a large following and established the band as one of the popular acts of the hippie era. Canned Heat appeared at most major musical events at the end of the 1960s and they were able to deliver on stage electrifying performances of blues standards and their own material and occasionally to indulge into lengthier 'psychedelic' solos. Two of their songs – "Going Up the Country" and "On the Road Again" – became international hits. "Going Up the Country" was a remake of the Henry Thomas song "Bulldoze Blues" recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1927. "On the Road Again" was a cover version/re-working of the 1953 Floyd Jones song of the same name, which is reportedly based on the Tommy Johnson song "Big Road Blues" recorded in 1928.
Since the early 1970s, numerous personnel changes have occurred and today, in the fifth decade of the band's existence the band includes de la Parra and Larry Taylor from the "classic" 1960s lineup as well as Mandel. For much of the 1990s and 2000s, de la Parra was the only member from the band's 1960s lineup. He has written a book about the band's career. Larry Taylor, whose presence in the band has not been steady, is the other surviving member from the earliest lineups. Mandel, Walter Trout and Junior Watson are among the guitarists who gained fame for playing in later editions of the band. British-blues pioneer John Mayall has frequently found musicians for his band among former Canned Heat members.