Howlin' Wolf, born Chester Arthur Burnett (1910-1976), is name-checked on the cover of "Freak Out!" (1966) under the heading "These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them".
He is also mentioned in "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (1989): "Don was also an R&B fiend, so I'd bring my 45s over and we'd listen for hours on end to obscure hits by the Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Guitar Slim, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Don & Dewey, the Spaniels, the Nutmegs, the Paragons, the Orchids, the etc., etc., etc."
In 1980, FZ featured as guest DJ on BBC Radio 1; one of the tracks he played was "I Asked Her For Water And She Brought Me Gasoline", by Howlin' Wolf ("Star Special"). "And now, for another person with exquisite diction". American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, bandleader, and larger-than-life personality. Second only to Muddy Waters (also name-checked on the cover of "Freak Out!) in his generation of Mississippi singers, and a strong influence on Captain Beefheart. In 1964 he released his only "pop" hit, "Smokestack Lightning". He was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
Zappa named "Who Will Be Next?" as one of his top ten favorite records in Faves, Raves And Composers In Their Graves.
Zappa was also a fan of Howlin' Wolf's guitar player Hubert Sumlin.