RIP: Hubert Sumlin, guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf

RIP: Hubert Sumlin, guitarist for Howlin' Wolf

From Chicago Sun-Times:

Mr. Sumlin died Sunday in a hospital in Wayne, N.J., reportedly of heart failure. He had turned 80 on Nov. 16. Mr. Sumlin was best known as lead guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Burnett) from 1953 until Wolf’s death in 1976.

This was no small feat. The combustible guitar parts in Wolf’s big-voiced tracks — “Smokestack Lightning,” “Spoonful,” “Ain’t Superstitious” — set Wolf on fire at Sun Records in Memphis and later at Chess Records in Chicago.

The 1953 summit of Mr. Sumlin and Wolf was to blues what the meeting of Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley was to rock just a year later.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, Mr. Sumlin is ranked 43rd on the magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page told the magazine, “I love Hubert Sumlin. He always played the right thing at the right time.”

• Hubert Sumlin: