Smokestack Lightning is a groundbreaking documentary film about the life and music of the late blues singer Chester Burnett, known better as “Howlin’ Wolf”. The film traces Howlin’ Wolf’s journey from an abused runaway child plowing the fields on Mississippi plantations to the legendary Chicago electric bluesman who became the father of hard rock. Singer Toledo Diamond (Dark Streets, 2008) plays Wolf in artful recreations of the singer's powerful presence on stage. The narrations will be interwoven with archival performance clips of Wolf, interview clips of late bluesmen, former Wolf bandmembers, and rock stars telling the story of Wolf and his influence on the white rock bands of the 1960’s. Groups like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin considered Wolf to be a profound influence on their musical styles. Wolf’s ascent to stardom was a continuous struggle through the racial tensions of the time, from the violent and oppressive plantations of Mississippi to the tumultuous fifties and sixties, when riots, protests and lynchings happened regularly. At a time when white and black societies were violently clashing, black blues musicians and the white rockers that emulated them broke the cultural barriers and fueled the Civil Rights Movement.
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