Pat Hare

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Pat Hare
Birth name Auburn Hare
Born (1930-12-20)December 20, 1930
Cherry Valley, Arkansas, United States
Died September 26, 1980(1980-09-26) (aged 49)
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Genres Blues, electric blues, rock
Occupation(s) Singer, guitarist, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, electric guitar
Years active Early 1950s–1962
Labels Sun Records
Associated acts Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Blue Flames

Auburn "Pat" Hare[1][2] (December 20, 1930 – September 26, 1980)[3] was an American Memphis electric blues guitarist and singer.[4] His heavily distorted, power chord–driven electric guitar music in the early 1950s is considered an important precursor to heavy metal music.[5] His guitar work with Little Junior's Blue Flames had a major influence on the rockabilly style,[6] while his guitar playing on blues records by artists such as Muddy Waters was influential among 1960s British Invasion blues rock bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.[5]


Hare was born in Cherry Valley, Arkansas.[3] He recorded at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, serving as a sideman for Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland and other artists.[3] Hare was one of the first guitarists to purposely use the effects of distortion in his playing.[4]

In 1951, he joined a blues band formed by Junior Parker, called Little Junior's Blue Flames.[7] He played the electric guitar solo on "Love My Baby" (1953), which later inspired the rockabilly style.[6] One of their biggest hits was "Next Time You See Me,"[8] which in 1957 reached #5 on the Billboard R&B charts and #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.[9]

His guitar solo on James Cotton's electric blues record "Cotton Crop Blues" (1954) was the first record to use heavily distorted power chords, anticipating elements of heavy metal music. According to Robert Palmer: "Rarely has a grittier, nastier, more ferocious electric guitar sound been captured on record, before or since, and Hare's repeated use of a rapid series of two downward-modulating power chords, the second of which is allowed to hang menacingly in the air, is a kind of hook or structural glue. [...] The first heavy metal record? I'd say yes, with tongue only slightly in cheek."[5] The other side of the single was "Hold Me in Your Arms"; both songs "featured a guitar sound so overdriven that with the historical distance of several decades, it now sounds like a direct line to the coarse, distorted tones favored by modern rock players." According to Allmusic, "what is now easily attainable by 16-year-old kids on modern-day effects pedals just by stomping on a switch, Hare was accomplishing with his fingers and turning the volume knob on his Sears & Roebuck cereal-box-sized amp all the way to the right until the speaker was screaming."[4]

Reported to have been an unassuming man in private (once married to Dorothy Mae Good, with whom he had three children — a son and two daughters); however, he had serious, and ultimately fatal, drinking problems.[4] Shortly after the "Cotton Crop Blues" recording, he recorded a version of the early 1940s Doctor Clayton song "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" on May 14, 1954, which has since been released on the 1990 Rhino Records compilation album, Blue Flames: A Sun Blues Collection. The record also features power chords, which remains "most fundamental in modern rock" as "the basic structure for riff-building in heavy metal bands." According to Robert Palmer, the song is "as heavy metal as it gets."[5] According to the album liner notes, "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" is "doubly morbid because he did just that". In December 1963, Hare shot his girlfriend dead and also shot a policeman who came to investigate.[10] At the time of his arrest, he was playing in the blues band of Muddy Waters. He was replaced in the band by guitarist James "Pee Wee" Madison.[4][11] Hare spent the last 16 years of his life in prison, where he formed a band named Sounds Incarcerated.[10] Hare succumbed to lung cancer in prison, and died in 1980 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.[3]


  1. ^ "Pat Hare Discography". Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  2. ^ "Pat Hare". 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d Doc Rock. "The 1980s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Koda, Cub. "Pat Hare". Allmusic. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d Robert Palmer, "Church of the Sonic Guitar", pp. 13-38 in Anthony DeCurtis, Present Tense, Duke University Press, 1992, pp. 24-27. ISBN 0-8223-1265-4.
  6. ^ a b Gillett, Charlie (1984). The sound of the city: the rise of rock and roll (Rev. ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0394726383. Retrieved 6 July 2012. "Love My Baby" in particular featured some blistering guitar playing by Pat Hare, which inspired the rockabilly style discussed elsewhere. 
  7. ^ "The Blues . Blues Road Trip . Memphis and St. Louis". PBS. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  8. ^ Vera, Billy (1992). Junior's Blues – The Duke Recordings Volume One (liner notes). Duke/MCA. p. 4–5. MCAD-10669. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 319. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  10. ^ a b Gordon, Robert (2003). Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters. Back Bay Books. pp. 174–175. ISBN 0-316-16494-1. 
  11. ^ Gordon, Robert (2003). Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters. Back Bay Books. pp. 202–203. ISBN 0-316-16494-1. 

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