The Howlin’ Wolf of Chicago

Howlin’ Wolf is one of the most important and thrilling artists in the history of the blues. Born Chester Arthur Burnett on June 10, 1910, Howlin’ Wolf wrote as well as performed his own work and songs written by others (especially Willie Dixon), a collection of brilliant blues gems that rival any others in the history of the blues genre. He epitomized the spirit of the electric Chicago blues, and along with Muddy Waters, immortalized the sound of that city in the 1950’s and 60’s. 

**Fun Fact** In 1948 when Howlin’ Wolf formed his first band in Chicago, the only known name of his piano player was the somewhat ominous sounding moniker “Destruction”.

Here’s what else happened This Week in Rock History:

Born this Week in Rock History

Howlin’ Wolf: June 10, 1910 (Blues Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist)
Frank Beard: June 11, 1949 (ZZ Top, drums)
Brad Delp: June 12, 1951 (Boston, lead vocals and guitar)

Waylon Jennings: June 15, 1937 (Country Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist)

Died this Week in Rock History

Ray Charles: June 10, 2004 (Soul Singer-Songwriter & Pianist)
Clyde McPhatter: June 13, 1972 (The Drifters, lead vocals)
Wynonie Harris: June 14, 1969 (Blues Shouter & R&B Vocalist)
Rory Gallagher: June 14, 1995 (Taste, guitar and vocals)
Ella Fitzgerald: June 15, 1996 (Jazz Vocalist)

Music releases and the top of the charts…

David Bowie, “Space Oddity” was released: June 11, 1969
The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” hits #1: June 11, 1966
Bo Diddley, Go Bo Diddley was released: June 12, 1959
Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” enters the country charts: June 12, 1957
The Beatles’ LP Let It Be hits #1; the song “The Long and Winding Road” does as well: June 13, 1970

This week in rock History

The Rolling Stones record “It’s All Over Now,” “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” and “Time Is On My Side” at Chess studios; the Stones get to meet Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry: June 10, 1964

A guy named Tommy Moore, current drummer for a band called The Beatles, quits the band to return to his day job of driving a forklift: June 11, 1960

The Rolling Stones hold an attention-grabbing “press conference” in the middle of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, just outside Chess Studios; it’s promptly broken up by the local police: June 11, 1964

Buckingham Palace announces that the Beatles are to be awarded the MBE (Members of the British Empire) award by Queen Elizabeth II, an award traditionally only presented to upper-crust members of the community. Several other members immediately return their awards, complaining that they have become “debased”: June 11, 1965

Pete Townshend of The Who

The Who’s Pete Townshend

European radio is abuzz with rumors that Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, has been killed in an auto accident days earlier. In fact, guitarist Pete Townshend was in the wreck, but survived with minor injuries: June 11, 1966

Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstandt, and Gary “US” Bonds appeared at a rally in Central Park for nuclear disarmament. Over 450,000 people were present: June 12, 1982

John Lennon makes his last ever television appearance. He appeared on “Salute to Sir Lew Grade” and played the songs “Imagine” and “Slippin and Slidin'”: June 13, 1975

One of the concerts that comprised Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive is performed at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco :June 13, 1975

Rod Stewart becomes a star in the US after the Jeff Beck Group, for which he sings lead, opens at New York’s Fillmore East. The 23-year-old Stewart is still so new to the stage that he hides behind a stack of speakers during the first song: June 14, 1968

Derek and the Dominos step on the stage for the first time under that name as they play the Lyceum in London: June 14, 1970

June 14, 2002: Mick Jagger is knighted.

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers loses its main guitarist, Peter Green, who quits to form a new band called Fleetwood Mac: June 15, 1967

Bob Dylan records “Like a Rolling Stone”: June 16, 1965

The first of the major rock festivals, Monterey Pop, is held in California, featuring established acts such as The Mamas and The Papas, Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Association, Booker T. and the MGs, The Who, and the Byrds, and also helping to make superstars of several relatively new acts such as Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Simon and Garfunkel, Canned Heat, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and The Steve Miller Band. 50,000 attendees paid between $3.50 and $6.50 to see more than two dozen acts, all of whom agreed to play for free so that all proceeds could go to charity. The event kicked off the famous “Summer of Love,” in which thousands of college-age rock fans visited San Francisco, and also inspired John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas to write “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair),” later a hit for Scott McKenzie. Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s acclaimed 1969 documentary Monterey Pop was filmed during the festival: June 16, 1967

The film The Blues Brothers premieres in Chicago: June 16, 1980

– Brian M. Reiser
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