Life and career He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Arkansas.
Initially influenced by fellow Memphian Junior Parker, and both
Boy Williamsons, Wells moved to Chicago in 1948 and began sitting in
with local musicians at house parties and taverns. He began performing
with The Aces (guitarist brothers Dave and Louis Myers and drummer Fred
Below) and developed a more modern amplified harmonica style influenced
by Little Walter. He made his first recordings at age 18, when he
briefly replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters' band and appeared on one
of Muddy's sessions in 1952. His first recordings as a band leader were
made in the following year for States Records; in the later '50s and
early '60s he also recorded singles for other local Chicago labels. He
worked with Buddy Guy in the 1960s and recorded his first album for
Delmark Records. His most memorable songs are "Messin' With The Kid" and
"Little by Little," which were written and composed by Chicago Blues
producer Mel London. His best-known album is 1965's Hoodoo Man Blues on
Delmark Records, which featured Buddy Guy on guitar and evokes the smoky
atmosphere of the era's Westside Chicago Blues bars.
Wells made an appearance in the 1998 movie Blues Brothers 2000, the
sequel to The Blues Brothers. The movie was released less than a month
after his death.
On his passing from lymphoma in 1998, Junior Wells was interred in
the Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago.