Born Chester Arthur Burnett in Mississippi in 1910- Howlin’ Wolf didn’t get the opportunity to record until 1951- when Ike Turner heard Howlin’ Wolf playing in West Memphis and brought him to the attention of Sam Phillips at the Memphis Recording Service- soon to be named Sun Studio. To say Sam Phillips was impressed by Howlin’ Wolf would be an understatement- Phillips would say “When I heard Howlin’ Wolf, I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.’ Sam Phillips considered Howlin’ Wolf to be his greatest discovery. When you consider he also discovered a couple cats named Elvis and Jerry Lee- that is quite a statement.
Howlin’ Wolf was a huge man- 6’6″ 275 pounds- and what a voice he had- Howlin’ Wolf was the perfect name for Chester Arthur Burnett to go by. His first single- recorded at Sun Studio was “How Many More Years” backed with “Moanin’ at Midnight.” Sun Records had yet formed- the single was released on Chess Records and both sides of the single made the Billboard R&B singles chart. The Wolf would soon move to Chicago and had an illustrious career at Chess Records- but he got his start with Mr. Sam in Memphis-