Listen to Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightnin’ from Reacher, Season 1, Ep. 1, “Welcome to Margrave”

While the Amazon Prime crime drama series Reacher has garnered a loyal fan base because of its hard-ass main character and gritty plot, the show is also pleasing viewers due to the music used on its soundtrack.

Songs like Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightnin‘, which showed up on Reacher, Season 1, Episode 1, “Welcome to Margrave“.

The track was played as Reacher gets off the bus outside Margrave, Georgia and heads to a diner where a guy harassing his wife attempts to start a fight.

It continues playing as the guy backs down when he sees Reacher’s face.

Although ‘Smokestack Lightnin‘ has been performed by Howlin’ Wolf for more than 20 years from the early 1930s onwards, it was first released as a single in 1956.

Since then, it has become a blues classic and is a well-known track among the blues community.

The raw, gritty track with that harmonica almost sounding like a train whistle was written by Howlin’ Wolf after sitting late at night watching steam trains passing by, and loving how they looked and sounded.

Incorporating that sound into a song grabbed blues fans’ attention so much, it reached #11 on the Billboard R&B chart at the time.

The song was then re-released in the UK in 1964 as a single, after it had been released the previous year on an EP, and went on to chart at #42 on the UK Singles chart.

The action crime thriller Reacher is based on the hit Jack Reacher books written by Lee Child. The drama stars Alan Ritchson, Malcolm Goodwin and Willa Fitzgerald.

Oh and, by the way, the show is fun, with superb action scenes and cool songs on its soundtrack. It is also currently so popular it is one of the most streamed shows on Amazon Prime at the moment.

You can watch Reacher on Amazon Prime Video.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.