Official Release - Junior Wells
Date: 98-01-16 15:02:49 EST
From: (Beverly Howell)

To follow is a release issued by Marty Salzman Management late last night, which I just finished posting to their website:

Chicago blues legend Junior Wells passed away this evening at the age of 63 after a four month battle with lymphoma. Bluesman is the only job he had held for the last 49 years. Itís all he ever wanted to be and he attained the ultimate respect and status in his genre. He will be forever remembered for his flamboyant style of dress, his unforgettable live performances, over thirty classic recordings, his unique style of blues harp wizardry, his song writing, and his humility. Junior never lost touch with his many fans and always had time for an autograph, an impromptu lesson or a story. He made a difference.

Marty Salzman

Cards may be sent to Junior's family at the following address:

Junior Wells

c/o Marty Salzman Management
3051 W. Logan
Chicago, IL 60647

A temporary email address has been established for those that wish to email the Wells family. That address is:

Please direct your browser to the Marty Salzman Management Website for future announcements:

Our thoughts and prayers are with Junior's family, friends, and fans.


Beverly Howell
Howell Productions, Inc.

Blues Great Junior Wells Dies at 63

.c The Associated Press


CHICAGO (AP) - Junior Wells, one of the last of the great bluesmen who shaped the Chicago sound and influenced the Rolling Stones and other rockers, died of cancer at 63.

Wells, who died Thursday, was a sharp-dressing showman with a powerful harmonica style and strong singing voice. ``Junior just had this unbelievable ability to internalize everything about the blues that is erotic and scary,'' said Bonnie Raitt, who recorded and toured with Wells. ``He was real sultry. It was the fact that he was kind of held in that made him so powerful and so sexy.''

Wells' influence can be seen in bands such as the Rolling Stones, with whom he toured, as well as in harmonica players such as Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band.

He became the harmonica player in Muddy Waters' band in 1952 at a time when the blues was changing to an urban, electric sound, Chicago was its capital and Waters was its king.

Wells had a ``less is more'' style of playing, said his longtime manager, Marty Salzman.

``Each note had to have the right feel, the right tone,'' he said.

Wells' ``Hoodoo Man Blues,'' considered by many one of the greatest all-time blues albums, came out on Delmark Records in the 1960s.

Wells recorded and toured with guitarist Buddy Guy, both as headliners and as opening acts for the Rolling Stones. In recent years Wells toured with his own band and made guest appearances with rockers Van Morrison and Carlos Santana.

Wells' parents worked a farm in Marion, Ark., and as a youngster he took an early interest in music and the Memphis, Tenn., blues scene. He moved to Chicago at 12.

Wells soaked in the music and the Chicago scene in the late 1940s, playing his first professional gig at 14. He joined Waters' band as a teen-ager, replacing harmonica superstar Little Walter.

According to Salzman, legend has it that Wells, as a youngster, worked all week on a soda truck to earn enough money to buy a harmonica he had seen at a pawn shop. When told it cost $2, he put down his week's earnings of $1.50, grabbed the instrument and ran.

Wells was brought before judge and told him he ``just had to have it,'' whereupon the judge demanded Wells play the harmonica. After listening, the judge gave the store owner 50 cents and dismissed the case.

Last year, Wells' ``Come on in This House'' won the W.C. Handy Blues ward for best traditional blues album. He also recently completed scenes for the movie ``Blues Brothers 2000'' and recorded a song for a Rolling Stones tribute album called ``Paint It Blue: Songs of the Rolling Stones.''

Wells is survived by two sisters and ``many children,'' Salzman said.

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