TALKING Howlin' Wolf

Howlin' Wolf, was born Chester Arthur Burnett on June 10, 1910, in West Point, Mississippi. He studied with bluesmen Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson before eventually signing with Chicago's Chess Records. An enthralling performer, he had hits like "The Red Rooster" and "Moanin' at Midnight," and by 1960, he had begun working with songwriter Willie Dixon. Revered by U.K. rock artists, Wolf died in Hines, Illinois, on January 10, 1976.

Chester Arthur Burnett received a guitar from his father when he was 18 and started to actively study and perform the blues. The moniker "Howlin' Wolf" was said to be earned during his childhood, with reports varying on what inspired the nickname.

Burnett learned his craft from renowned bluesmen like Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson, the latter being a family in-law, and performed in clubs during the 1930s while working as a farmer. He was stationed with the Army in Seattle, Washington during World War II, and then returned home, devoting himself fully to his music by the end of the decade.

By the end of the '60s, Wolf's work was being hailed and covered by a number of popular British and U.S. rock acts, including the Doors, Cream and the Rolling Stones, who had a big U.K. hit with their remake of "Red Rooster" and appeared with Wolf on the TV show Shindig. Wolf traveled to the U.K. to record his 1971 album, The London Sessions, which featured background support from Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, among others. After suffering from severe heart problems and kidney disease, Wolf died on January 10, 1976, at the age of 65, in Hines, Illinois. Wolf, who had earned an honorary doctorate from Chicago's Columbia College, was posthumously inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

For us at Talking Waves, in both our guitar playing and singing, our roots, like a lot of bands, stem from the blues. What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said? For us blues is the root of all things and without these old time legends where would we be? None of this would be possible without them. Every week we thank an artist that has inspired us, but this week not only are we doing that again but we are in fact thanking one of the artists who inspired the entire genre of rock music. People will argue this point of course on who the real grandfathers of rock were and who the main influencers were, but it all doesn’t matter. Howlin’ Wolf helped shape so many artists and us as well.

Our favorite tracks: Built For Comfort, Smokestack Lightning, Spoonfull, The Red Rooster

Our favorite album: The Howlin’ Wolf Album

We’re built for comfort but we’re built for speed as well!


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