Howlin' Wolf, 1910–76, African-American blues singer and composer, b. White Station, Miss., as Chester Arthur Burnett. Exposed to blues performers from childhood, he sang locally and organized his first band in West Memphis, Tenn., in 1948. Darkly expressive, his growling, raspy voice, accompanied by his slide guitar and harmonica, came to wider public attention with his first hit,
Moanin' at Midnight,in 1951. Moving to Chicago, he and his friend and rival Muddy Waters became major figures in the transformation of the traditional acoustic Delta blues into the amplified, contemporary, and urban electric blues. For two decades (1955–75) he made concert tours across the United States. Like Waters, he was an important influence on the Rolling Stones, with whom he performed in the mid-1960s, and other British rockers.
See biography by J. Segrest and M. Hoffman (2004).
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