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  • Bob “The Bear” Hite was a songwriter and vocalist for the blues-rock band Canned Heat before he died from a drug overdose in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Bob Hite was proficient in vocals, the flute, and the harmonica, and he left a lasting legacy on blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

    How Bob Hite Died

    Bob Hite passed away on April 5, 1981 at the age of 38 of heart failure in combination with heroin and cocaine.

    The night of his death, the band was performing “Fried Hockey Boogie” to close the end of a set. The band was performing at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood when Bob Hite was handed heroin from a fan in the audience.

    Unfortunately, Hite snorted the heroin, resulting in him falling into a coma. Other fans gave him a large dose of cocaine in an attempt to awaken Hite, which was unsuccessful.

    Some of the fans of Canned Heat placed Bob Hite in a van, driving him to bandmate Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra’s home. It was at the home when Hite died from heart failure.

    About Bob Hite

    Bob Hite was born in Torrance, California on February 26, 1943.

    Canned Heat

    At the age of 22, Bob Hite formed a band with his friend Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson. Canned Heat was formed which included the following bandmates:

    • co-vocalist Alan Wilson “Blind Owl”
    • bassist Larry Taylor “The Mole”
    • drummer Frank Cook
    • former guitarist of Mothers of Invention Henry Vestine “The Sunflower”
    • lead singer Bob Hite “The Bear”

    After appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, the band signed with Liberty Records and released the album Boogie With Canned Heat in 1968. The double album Living the Blues came out in 1968 as well.

    In 1969, Canned Heat performed at the famous Woodstock event and later released the album Hallelujah. The band would later go on to combine talents with John Lee Hooker for the double album Hooker ‘N Heat (1971).

    Popular Songs

    Some of the popular songs by Canned Heat include:

    • “On the Road Again”
    • “Going Up the Country”
    • “Pony Blues”
    • “Walking By Myself”
    • “Let’s Work Together”
    • “Shake It and Break It”
    • “My Time Ain’t Long”

    Bob Hite’s History Of Substance Abuse

    Throughout his life, Bob Hite struggled with substance use. The band was affected by suicide only 11 years prior to Bob Hite’s death when vocalist Alan Wilson passed away.

    Alan Wilson’s cause of death, according to Rolling Stone, was an accidental overdose of barbiturates. However, Wilson’s body was found in the garden of Bob Hite’s Topanga Canyon home.

    Beside Wilson’s side was a bottle of barbiturates. His hands were placed across his chest. Undoubtedly traumatic for Hite, the death of his friend in 1970 may have impacted Hite’s mental health, leading to an increase in substance abuse that involved cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and other drugs.

    Did Bob Hite Attend Addiction Treatment?

    It’s unknown whether Bob Hite ever attended rehab, but it’s well-known that Canned Heat band members participated in drug use throughout their career.

    Recovery Is Possible

    Drug use need not end in tragedy, and those with addiction can overcome this disease by participating in a professional rehab program and finding support in those who have had a similar experience.

    To learn how recovery is possible at Ark Behavioral Health, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on February 16, 2023
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