Here we are breaking into the top 5 of the 15 greatest blues songs of all time! Man I love this so much it gives me the chills. From here on out we will be completely immersed in nothing but low down and dirty solid blues. All are heavy hitters holding nothing back, that’s how we roll at The Audio Museum.
Also I would like to add that in the making of The Audio Museum’s Top 15 Best Blues Songs of All Time that I have come across more music than could be added to this list. With what I have found we could have easily made a Top 30 or 50. So always with a grain of salt, lists like mine are completely subject to each persons’ own personal preferences, no two lists would or should be the same and why would you want them to be? That would defeat the purpose of finding new and wonderful beautiful music!
It is my privilege to introduce you to none other than Mr. Chester Arthur Burnett. I have had the honor of listening to his music since I was just a wee lad. And as far as I know everyone who has heard this man’s music has immediately fell in love with him just as I did. How could you not?
Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. The musician and critic Cub Koda noted, “no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.” Producer Sam Phillips recalled, “When I heard Chester, I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'” Several of his songs, including “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”, have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
Now I don’t know about you but number 54 in Rolling Stone isn’t too bad considering they run a top 100, that’s amazing! Have you been able to guess who it is yet? Here’s another clue, The Doors also loved and admired this man and remade one of his songs to which their version of Back Door Man gained so much notoriety that many believe they wrote it, but not so.
Here is the Real…..Back Door Man! Howlin’ Wolf!
~ Sonny-Boy-Williamson-and-Howlin-Wolf at the American Folk Blues Tour
I found some great facts and more info after doing some digging around. Here is more about the life of Howlin’ Wolf from Editor in Chief Maria at Ultimate Guitar:
- His mother threw him out of the house when he was a child for refusing to work on the farm.
- He grew up one of six children on the Young and Myers cotton plantation, where both of his parents worked. His parents separated when he was one year old. He then moved in with his uncle, Will Young, who treated him badly and whipped him with a leather plow line. They were so poor, he once tied burlap sacks around his bare feet, and so hungry he once ate food scraps tossed off a train by railroad workers. When he was thirteen, he ran away and claimed to have walked 85 miles (137 km) barefoot to join his father, where he finally found a happy home with his father’s large family. It was his father who presented him with his first guitar when the bluesman was 18. His mother, on the other hand, being a spirituals singer, thought that blues was the devil’s music and that her son was going to hell.
- He couldn’t read music.
- In 1965, The Rolling Stones agreed to appear on the ABC TV show Shindig with one condition – their idol, Howlin’ Wolf, had to be there, too.
- When Chester was a child his grandfather would tell him stories of wolves in Mississippi. Once, something frightened the young bluesmen and he ran howling upstairs, which prompted his family to dub him the Howlin’ Wolf. Wolf adopted this name for himself early on.
- His songs were covered by the greatest musicians of all times – Jimi Hendrix, Soundgarden, The Doors, Albert King, Cream, Megadeth, The Rolling Stones, and others.
- In the 1950s, Howlin’ Wolf had five songs on the Billboard national R&B charts.
The songs were “Moanin’ at Midnight”, “How Many More Years”, “Who Will Be Next”, “Smokestack Lightning”, and “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline).”
- Chicago made a stamp with Howlin Wolf’s face on it.
Since Chester Burnett died in 1976 — in Chicago, the town that made the blues famous — a postage stamp has had his face on it, and there’s been a statue in his hometown, a blues festival in his name and numerous Hall of Fame inductions and record reissues.
Also to note is that his songs have been remade by the best of the best. Bands like Megadeth and Monster Magnet would really blow your mind, here’s a quick vid of a great new up and coming band called Greta Van Fleet remaking Wolf’s “Evil” from December of 2017, enjoy!