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About Moanin’ at MidnighT: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf was a musical giant in every way. He stood six-foot-three, weighed almost three hundred pounds, wore size seventeen shoes, and poured out his darkest sorrows onstage in a voice like a raging chainsaw. Half a century after his first hits, his sound still terrifies and inspires.

Born Chester Burnett in 1910, the Howlin’ Wolf survived a grim childhood and hardscrabble youth as a sharecropper in Mississippi. He began his career by playing and singing with the first Delta blues stars for two decades in perilous juke joints. He was present at the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis, where Sam Phillips—who also discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis—called Wolf his “greatest discovery.” Wolf helped define the sound of electric blues and vied with rival Muddy Waters as the king of Chicago blues. He ended his career performing and recording with the world’s most famous rock stars. His passion for music kept him performing—despite devastating physical problems—right up to his death in 1976.

There’s never been a comprehensive biography of the Wolf until now. MOANIN’ AT MIDNIGHT is full of startling information about Wolf’s mysterious early years, surprising new details about his decades on top, and never-before-seen photos. It strips away all the myths to reveal—at long last—the real-life triumphs and tragedies of this blues titan. Based on more than ten years of research and hundreds of interviews with Wolf's family, friends, band members, and admirers, the book includes:


An Introduction by bluesman B. B. King.


Thirteen chapters and 416 pages chronicling the entire life of Howlin’ Wolf, from his birth in 1910 to his death in 1976.


Dozens of photos of Wolf in performance and offstage, many never published before.


Photos of significant band members, friends, and family members.


An Epilogue describing Howlin’ Wolf's musical and personal legacy.


A Sessionography including songs, players, and recording dates for every recording session by the Wolf.


An Index, Endnotes, and Bibliography.

The authors interviewed more than 250 people who knew or played with Wolf, including his first girlfriend, his last wife, the friends and family of his other wives and girlfriends, his stepsisters, his childhood friends, and dozens of people who knew him in the 1920s and 1930s, long before he became the blues icon that so many people know and love today. The authors interviewed more than 125 musicians who played with Wolf from the 1930s on, including some of the most famous people in blues, such as Hubert Sumlin, B. B. King, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Taj Mahal, Honeyboy Edwards, Sam Lay, Jody Williams, Eddie Shaw, and many more. MOANIN’ AT MIDNIGHT is the definitive biography of this American musical giant.

Copyright © 2004 Howlin' Wolf Productions. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/09/14