I Ain't Superstitious
|"I Ain't Superstitious"|
|Single by Howlin' Wolf|
|B-side||"Just Like I Treat You"|
|Released||December 1961– 1962|
|Format||7" 45 rpm record|
|Label||Chess (Cat. no. 1823)|
|Producer(s)||Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Willie Dixon|
|Howlin' Wolf singles chronology|
"I Ain't Superstitious" is a song written by bluesman Willie Dixon and first recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1961. It recounts various superstitions, including that of a black cat crossing the pathway. The song has been recorded by a number of artists, including Jeff Beck, whose version has been acknowledged by Rolling Stone magazine.
"I Ain't Superstitious" is a mid-tempo stop-time blues song that does not follow the typical chord progression. The song "is not merely an electric version of the blues practiced in the Delta; it is something wholly new, a more aggressive and sophisticated Chicago cousin that acknowledges contemporary jazz, R&B, and pop forms".
Backing Wolf (vocal and guitar) are pianist Henry Gray, guitarists Hubert Sumlin and Jimmy Rogers, drummer Sam Lay (drums), and with Willie Dixon on upright bass. "I Ain't Superstitious" is included on several Howlin' Wolf compilation albums, including the 1969 Chess album Evil.
Jeff Beck version
English rock guitarist Jeff Beck recorded "I Ain't Superstitious" for the 1968 debut album Truth by the Jeff Beck Group, featuring Rod Stewart on vocals. Called "a well-known classic-rock-radio staple", Beck's version is "an inventive and inspired recording that manages to inject even more power into the updated arrangement". The song's prominent feature is Beck's guitar work: "At every break, Beck's aqueous wah-wah tone makes his instrument sound like it's talking". His version was ranked number 86 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time".
"I Ain't Superstitious" has been recorded by numerous artists, including George Lynch, The Upholsterers (Jack White's original band), Tesla (all based on Beck's version), The Grateful Dead, The Yardbirds, and Savoy Brown. The song's author Willie Dixon recorded it for his 1970 album I Am the Blues. Megadeth covered it on their 1986 album Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? (with the lyrics changed significantly). Carlos Santana covered the song for his 2010 solo album Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, with Jonny Lang on lead vocals.
- Shurman, Dick (1991). Howlin' Wolf: The Chess Box (Media notes). Howlin' Wolf. MCA/Chess Records. p. 29. CHD3-9332.
- The Blues. Hal Leonard Corporation. 1995. pp. 96–97. ISBN 0-79355-259-1.
- Janovitz, Bill. "I Ain't Superstitious — Song Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
- "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2003. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2011.