Howlin’ Wolf (1960s Blues)

Life and Death

Chester Arthur Burnett also known as Howlin Wolf was born in White Station, Mississippi on June 10, 1910. He died on January 10, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois.

Early Life

Howlin’ Wolf became invested with music at a young age learning how to play a one-stringed instrument as well as a harmonica (Mississippi Blues Trail). At the age of 13, he ended up migrating to the Mississippi delta due to having a troubled home life (Mississippi Blues Trail). He ended up reuniting with his father in which he was gifted his first guitar at the age of 18 (Mississippi Blues Trail).

After receiving his guitar, he worked under Charley Patton as his mentee. Charley Patton helped Howlin’ Wolf record some of his first records such as “Pony Blues” (Mississippi Blues Trail). Howlin’ Wolf developed his craftsmanship with Patton while also traveling throughout Mississippi to do performances. He performed with other blues artists that eventually became as well known as he did like, Robert Johnson.


Howlin’ Wolf moved to Arkansas in the 1940s after having served in the army (Mississippi Blues Trail). He owned a farm as well as performing eletric blues at different gigs which led him to be discovered by Sam Phillips. Wolf recorded with Chess Record and RPM in 1951. Wolf ended up moving to Chicago in 1953 where he recorded a number of hit records like “I Ain’t Superstitious”.

When the crossover period began of white audiences listening to Blues Music, Wolf’s music started to be covered by a lot of European American artists. Some of these artists include the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin (Mississippi Blues Trail). However, with all the noteriety he started getting in Chicago and other parts of the world, his fan base never faltered in the South either. Howlin Wolf’ traveled to the South still to perform his new popular songs and visit old friends.

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