500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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Howlin' Wolf, 'Smokestack Lightning'

291. Howlin' Wolf, 'Smokestack Lightning'

Writer: Chester Burnett
Producers: Leonard and Phil Chess, Willie Dixon
Released: March '56, Chess
Did not chart 

This was based on Wolf’s "Crying at Daybreak," recorded years earlier and itself modeled on Charley Patton’s "Moon Going Down." The inspiration, said Wolf, was watching trains cut through the night: "We used to sit out in the country and see the trains go by, watch the sparks come out of the smokestack. That was smokestack lightning."

Appears on: His Best (Chess)


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