"Little Red Rooster" is a classic blues song that has been recorded countless times. Howlin' Wolf recorded "The Red Rooster" in 1961, a song credited to blues arranger and songwriter Willie Dixon, although earlier songs have been cited as inspiration. A variety of performers have interpreted it, including Sam Cooke and The Rolling Stones, who had important record chart successes with the song. Howlin' Wolf's "The Red Rooster/Little Red Rooster" has been acknowledged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The rooster is a theme in several blues songs from the 1920s and 1930s, with Charlie Patton's "Banty Rooster Blues" (1929 Paramount 12792) being identified as "obviously inspiring" "Little Red Rooster". Although musically the songs are different, there are some similarities in the lyrics. Patton's song includes "What you want with a rooster, he won't crow 'fore day" and "I know my dog anywhere I hear him bark", analogous to Dixon's "I have a little red rooster, too lazy to crow 'fore day" and "Oh the dogs begin to bark..." Memphis Minnie's "If You See My Rooster (Please Run Him Home)" (1936 Vocalion 03285) contain the lyrics "If you see my rooster, please run 'im on back home", similar...