Hubert Sumlin was a blues guitarist with Chicago roots, that helped give Howlin’ Wolf his “Wang Dang Doodle”, and set the bar for a lot of musicians that you see and hear today. Passing from heart failure on December 4th, the waves of his death were felt as far as England.
Born in the Mississippi Delta in 1931, and then moved to and raised in Hughes, Arkansas, Sumlin taught himself guitar. When the 1950’s came around, he came to Chicago, and came across a man named Howlin’ Wolf, and began a collaboration of music that shaped many artists, and genres that you hear today.
Even with music that made people stand up and pay attention, there were still issues. Once, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hubert came to a show after it was already over. Getting in the car as if nothing happened, Wolf and Sumlin got into a tussle, resulting in Wolf tossing Sumlin down a hill, with Sumlin losing 2 of his front teeth. So is the nature of the beast. But, payback was in the forecast for Hubert’s lost teeth.
A Chicago blues club, named Silvios is where it happened, hitting Wolf square in the mouth, knocking some of his teeth out. After what Sumlin said was “feeling really bad about it”, an apology was made, and they both went back to what they did best, and that was music. Sumlin shaped the desires and styles of a lot of musicians, including Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, both of them throwing their hat in the ring to be part of Sumlin’s grammy-nominated 2005 album “About Them Shoes”.
When word came of his passing on December 4th, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones came forward to pay for Hubert Sumlin’s funeral services. December 12th was a public service at Festa Memorial Funeral Home in Totowa, New Jersey. A private service was held on December 13th in Homewood, IL. It was not specified what part, or if all of Sumlin’s services were paid for by Jagger and Richards, but it’s great to think they were only a “stone’s throw” from Q101 fans.
Hubert Sumlin was an amazing man with a guitar in his hands. His skill and style has been adapted and looked up to by many. It’s always a tragedy when we lose someone bearing this importance on the world of music, but you can learn more about his legacy, and spread the word by going Here, and Here