Robert Ernest "Bob" "The Bear" Hite (February 26, 1943 – April 5, 1981) was the American lead singer of the blues-rock band,Canned Heat, from 1965 to his death in 1981.
He was introduced to Alan Wilson by Henry Vestine and the two of them helped convince blues pianist Sunnyland Slim to get back into the recording studio to record. In 1965, aged 22, he formed a band with Wilson. Vestine joined soon after and this trio formed the core of Canned Heat. The trio were eventually joined by Larry Taylor (bass) and Frank Cook (drums).
Canned Heat appeared on a November 1969 episode of Playboy After Dark. Hite was invited to talk with Hugh Hefner after the performance, along with other guests Sonny and Cher, Vic Damone, Dick Shawn and Larry Storch. A 20-year-old Lindsay Wagner, playing the part of one of Hefner's party guests, sat on Hite's lap and played a party game. When asked by Hefner what kind of animal Hite would be if he were an animal, Wagner claimed he'd be a bear. Hite told her she got it right, that people called him "The Bear." It was also on this episode that Bob Hite informed Hugh Hefner that he had over 15,000 78s.
He produced the John Lee Hooker/Canned Heat album, Hooker 'N Heat (1971). Hite was found dead in his van of a heart attack in 1981, at the age of 38.