Howlin Wolf born Chester Arthur Burnett, was a legendary Chicago born blues singer and guitarist who thrilled the world with his deep baritone voice for over 30 years.
Howlin Wolf in his way set some standards for the blues and rock n roll industry.
Howlin Wolf has been ranked 54th on the list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by Rolling Stone.
He was renowned for his unique voice which some described as guttural and some of his audience referred to it as howling.
No one has been able to sing like Howlin Wolf or imitate him since then. This is not for a lack of wanting and many blues artistes still aspire to sing like him.
To be able to sing like Howlin Wolf you need to understand his genre of songs, his type of voice and vocal range as well as practice some of his songs.
What Are The Steps Needed To Sing Like Howlin ‘Wolf?
- Train Your Voice
Before you can learn to sing like any notable musician, you need to train your voice to become powerful.
Consistently work on your voice till you get over every irregularity and common mistakes you might be making. This is your start to singing like Howlin Wolf.
- Learn How To Sing Like a Bluesman
The way a rock artist will sing is different from the way a blues singer will.
Pay attention to Howlin Wolfs’ songs, voice and way of singing.
Also watch other great blues classics like Muddy Waters to know how to sing like a classic bluesman.
- Watch His Performances Regularly
By watching your favorite artist’s performances, you can subconsciously internalize details of his singing.
Things such as facial expressions, pronunciations and other minute details can help you learn to imitate him.
- Choose A Suitable Song
Start practicing Howlin ‘Wolfs’ and do it consistently.
Always start with a simple song which you can easily sing along to and as your voice gets stronger and you learn the timbre, you can move on to other difficult songs.
- Rehearse Regularly Til You Get It
The key to getting anything is consistency. Even great singers never stopped working on their voices.
Sing like Howlin Wolf any chance you get; in the bathroom, in the kitchen, on the bus everywhere.
Practice the stanzas of every song till you are near perfect. Remember consistency is the key.
What Voice Type Does Howlin Wolf Have?
Howlin Wolf was famous for his loud, booming and guttural voice which enraptured many of his audiences.
He was one of the first balck blues musicians and he was given the name Booming Chester for that reason.
He is a strong and booming baritone whose voice and unique stage presence endeared him to many of his audiences.
He sang blues and played harmonica, but some consider him to be the greatest blues singer of all time.
His distinct voice captivated audiences and had a significant impact on rock ‘n’ roll. Nobody before and since had a voice like Wolf’s.
What Makes Howlin Wolf’s Voice So Unique?
Howlin Wolf is renowned for having one of the most unusual voices in the history of blues artists. Howlin Wolfs’ singing was not just about the voice but also his stage presence.
He was an extremely tall and gigantic man at 6 foot 3 and weighing over 300 pounds. Audiences who listened to him then, recollected his bass guitar accompanying his guttural voice.
Some people have attributed his unique voice to the fact that he had severe tonsillitis as a child but whatever the case might have been, Howlin Wolfs’ voice and performance will remain an evergreen memory with many lovers of blues music.
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Can Howlin ‘Wolf Actually Sing?
Howlin Wolf was a singer that paved the way in the blues as well as rock n roll genre of music.
Wolf’s influence not only on blues and rock music, but also on music in general, is undeniable and till today that influence is still felt.
As a lover of classic blues music, Howlin Wolf is one of the greatest singers of all time and this is supported by the fact that he is ranked 54th on Rolling Stone, ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’.
Some of his musical works such as the ‘Killing Floor’ and ‘Smokestack Lightnin’ have become standards for blues and rock n roll artists and even music as a whole.
Howlin’ Wolf had five songs on Billboard’s national R&B charts in the 1950s which included ‘Moanin’ at Midnight’, ‘I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)’, ‘Who Will Be Next’, ‘How Many More Years’, and ‘Smokestack Lightning’.
These songs are very much still loved by lovers of classic blues music and for me, Howlin Wolf will forever remain an outstanding bluesman who gave us his best with his voice and energetic performances.
How Did Howlin Wolf Start Singing?
Howlin Wolf born Chester Arthur Burnett grew up on a cotton plantation, and the music he heard was traditional regional tunes.
He began singing professionally when he was quite young, and in the 1920s and 1930s, he traveled throughout Mississippi, performing in small clubs.
Popular artists of that period such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sonny Boy Williamson and Charley Patton’s music influenced him.
Charley Patton, a Delta bluesman, personally trained Howlin’ Wolf.
They first met in 1930 and Patton not only taught Howlin Wolf the guitar, he also taught him stage presence.
Sonny Boy Williamson taught Wolf how to play the harmonica while Aleck ‘Rice’ Miller taught him to play the harp.
All these happened in the early 1930s and after that period, Howlin Wolf was admitted in the military.
After his discharge, he assembled a band of musicians and by 1951, he had released 2 songs, ‘Moanin at Midnight’ and ‘How Many More Years’.
These laid the path for his long and successful musical career.
Also check out this article I wrote on how to sing like Dave Grohl
What Is Howlin Wolf’s Vocal Range?
With his deep and booming baritone voice, Howlin Wolfs’ vocal range has been classified as A2 – A#4 with a range of 2.1 octaves, which is quite okay for a baritone singer.
Howlin Wolf was not musically trained but was reported to describe what he wanted to producers until they got it.
Howlin Wolfs’ deep baritone always moved audiences and many artistes have tried to imitate his guttural sounding voice.
What Is The Highest Note Howlin ‘Wolf Can Sing?
With his deep booming voice, Howlin Wolf could hit a A#4 note.
This is particularly notable for some of his songs such as ‘Sitting on Top of The World’, ‘Moanin For My Baby’ and ‘You Can’t Put Me Out’.
Howlin Wolf was known to hit some high falsettos during his performances which has been described by some as ‘howling’.
With his guitar accompaniment and guttural voice, some of his audiences admitted to getting the shivers listening to him sing.
What Are Some Classic Howlin Wolf Songs To Practice?
- Who’s Been Talkin’: ‘Who’ Been Talkin’ was written and recorded in 1962 as part of the Howlin Wolf album which had the rocking chair cover. The album was Wolfs’ second and has since then gone on to win several awards and be included in Hall of fames.
- Shake for Me: Shake for Me is also a song from the Howlin Wolf or Rocking Chair album. It is a classic Howlin Wolf song to practice with.
- Evil: Evil was originally recorded and released by Howlin Wolf in 1954 before he re-recorded it as part of his Moaning in The Moonlight Album. This song is Howlin Wolfs’ last charting single which reached number 43 on the Billboard R&B Chart.
The Howlin Wolf was a force to be reckoned with in his prime days and even after his illness he still gave his best in his performances.
Till date, no has been able to imitate his booming baritone voice with which he thrilled audiences.
He changed the way black musicians were viewed in the 40s and 50s and till today many still look up to him. Learning to sing like Howlin Wolf would be a tough nut as his guttural voice was his unique selling point.