Chester Arthur Burnett was born in Mississippi on 10 June 1910 and began singing the blues while working on a plantation, after being thrown out by his mother at the age of 13.
After his Army discharge in 1945, Burnett located himself in West Memphis where an early meeting with Charley Patton and harmonica tuition from Sonny Boy Williamson set him firmly on a blues course.
As ‘Howlin’ Wolf’ he cut a series of blistering performances with Sam Phillips at the fledgling Sun Studio and never looked back.
A move to Chicago and Chess Records in the mid-50s sealed his reputation and brought us many memorable tracks, including Smokestack Lightnin’, How Many More Years?, Evil, I Asked For Water She Gave Me Gasoline and Spoonful.
Blessed with a voice likened to “the sound of heavy machinery operating on a gravel road”, The Rolling Stones took his track Little Red Rooster into the UK charts while Spoonful was later immortalised by Cream‘s 1967 cover version.
Howlin’ Wolf died of cancer at the age of 65 on 10 January 1976.