Happy Birthday, Howlin’ Wolf!

Today (June 10) is the birthday of Chester Arthur Burnett, best known as the Chicago blues singer Howlin’ Wolf.  He was born in 1910, and this would be his 100th birthday.  Howlin’ Wolf is one of the greatest artists of American music, and certainly one of the two absolute giants of blues.  (The other would be, of course, Muddy Waters.)

Wolf kept one foot (size 16 extra wide) in Chicago blues and another in the fertile South.  He got his start recording at Sun studios for the legendary Sam Phillips, and after he migrated north to Chicago in the early 1950s Wolf did his howling under the Chess Records imprint.

Howlin’ Wolf’s influence on rock and roll is profound – his 1962 album Howlin’ Wolf (the “rocking chair” album, because there’s a rocking chair on the cover), with classics “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Little Red Rooster” and “Spoonful,”covered by literally hundreds of rockers, is one of the greatest albums ever made.

When Chess set up a 1971 session in London, the Wolf attracted as sidemen no less than Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, Klaus Voormann and Ringo Starr.  The version of “Wang Dang Doodle” included here is from those London sessions.

There are so many songs we could choose, hope these will help you blow out 100 candles.  Howl on, Wolf!

MP3: “I’m The Wolf”

MP3: “Moving”

MP3: “Built For Comfort”

MP3: “Coon On The Moon”

MP3: “Hidden Charms”

MP3: “Tail Dragger” (1968)

MP3: “Highway 49”

MP3: “Howlin’ For My Darling”

MP3: “The Back Door Wolf”

MP3: “Evil” (1968)

MP3: “Baby Ride With Me Tonight (Ridin’ In The Moonlight)”

MP3: “Wang Dang Doodle” (London sessions)

MP3: “Back Door Man” (1961)

MP3: “The Watergate Blues”

MP3: “Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy”

MP3: “Spoonful”

MP3: “Smokestack Lightnin'” (1956)

MP3: “Back Door Man” (1968)

Howlin’ Wolf Home Page

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Howlin’ Wolf!”

  1. He could sing the phone book and make it sound like sex.

  2. I have never heard such great music before Howlin Wolf. True to the form of blues his guitar cries and yells at the same time. I thought blues meant slow and sad, as the saying goes” cant play the blues until you have lived” I never heard anything like Killing Floor, so many little hidden beats and strums in that song. His voice and style are legendary. The fact that he weighed over 300lbs and clawed the guitar so nicely and clean is a mystery.
    How did he even think of Spoonful, it sounds like it was written yesterday. Timeless.

    Happy Belated Mr. Wolf

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