Wolfman Jack (January 21, 1938-July 1, 1995) was the stage name of a disc jockey hugely popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
Born Robert Smith, he came to prominence in the United States in the 1960s as a disc jockey on Mexican radio stations, including a stint with XERF-AM, which broadcast into the United States with a transmission of 250,000 watts, five times more powerful than any American stations.
The hip, sexually suggestive Wolfman Jack persona allowed Smith to ignore the prevailing racial segregated of American radio.
Wolfman Jack's program was broadcast to much of the United States and into Canada. He played whatever music he liked, regardless of the performer's ethnicity. Any night a listener might hear a mix of blues music, rockabilly, doo-wop, zydeco, rock and roll, jump blues, rhythm and blues or jazz.
He frequently punctuated his broadcasts with howls, which, along with his gravelly voice, made him instantly recognizable. This style was modelled, at least in part, on bluesman Howlin' Wolf. Smith was Caucasian, but many listeners assumed he was African American.
Despite--or perhaps because of--his widespread popularity, Smith chose to keep Wolfman Jack a mystery. Stories appeared in national newspapers, reporting rumors of his true identity.
Only in 1973 by appearing in the George Lucas film American Graffiti, did Wolfman Jack allow the public to see him. His broadcasts tie the film together and a main character catching a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman is a pivotal scene.
Afterwards, he appeared in several films and television shows (including The Midnight Special and his own show, The Wolfman Jack Show). He also furnished his voice in the 1974 Guess Who's tribute, the top 40 hit single, "Clap for the Wolfman".