Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin’ Wolf, was one of the most influential blues singers. He was also a guitarist and harmonica player and his later electric Chicago blues helped shape the sound of rock & roll.
He was born on June 10, 1910 in White Station, Mississippi. He started playing blues at the age of 18 with the rural masters, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and Charley Patton, his biggest single influence.
Wolf’s first R&B hit was “Moanin’ at Midnight” in 1957, which he recorded for Chess Records in 1951. Later, his songs that he recorded for Chess, were considered his best. Among them were “Back Door Man”, “How Many More Years”, “Killing Floor”. Many of this singles have been covered by American and English rock artists, such as the Stones, the Doors, the Yardbirds.
His album, The London Sessions, released in 1971, featured support from Clapton, Ringo Starr, Steve Winwood, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman.
Wolf suffered several heart attacks, but continued to play infrequently. One of his last concerts was in November 1975 in Chicago, with B.B. King, Little Milton and Bobby “Blue” Bland.
Wolf’s booming voice and looming physical presence, gave him a status of one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. In 2004, the Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 51 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artist of All Time.