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The Blues Brothers are an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd fronted the band, in character, respectively, as lead vocalist 'Joliet' Jake Blues and harmonica player/vocalist Elwood Blues. The band was composed of well-known musicians,[1] and debuted as the musical guest in a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live, opening the show performing "Hey Bartender", and later "Soul Man".[2]

In 1978, the band released their debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, and opened for the Grateful Dead at the closing of Winterland Arena in San Francisco. They gained further notoriety after spawning a Hollywood comedy film in 1980, The Blues Brothers.

After Belushi's death in 1982, the Blues Brothers continued to perform with a rotation of guest singers and other band members. The band reformed in 1988 for a world tour and again in 1998 for a sequel film, Blues Brothers 2000.

Salgado lent him some albums by Floyd Dixon, Salgado lent him some albums by Floyd Dixon, Charles Brown, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and others. Belushi was hooked.[8]

Belushi beg

Belushi began to join Salgado on stage, singing the Floyd Dixon song "Hey, Bartender" on a few occasions, and using Salgado's humorous alternate lyrics to "I Don't Know":

I said Woman, you going to walk a mile for a Camel

or are you going to make like Mr. Cheste

or are you going to make like Mr. Chesterfield and satisfy?
She said, that all depends on what you're packing,
regular or king-size.
Then she pulled out my Jim Beam and to her surprise

It was every bit as hard as my Canadian Club

These lyrics were used in the band's debut performance on SNL.

With the help of pianist-arranger Paul Shaffer, Belushi and Aykroyd started assembling a collection of studio talents to form their own band.[1] These included SNL band members saxophonist "Blue" Lou Marini and trombonist-saxophonist Tom Malone, who had previously played in Blood, Sweat & Tears. At Shaffer's suggestion guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, the powerhouse combo from Booker T and the M.G.'s and subsequently almost every hit out of Memphis' Stax Records during the 1960s, were signed as well.

Belushi wanted a powerful trumpet player and a hot blues guitarist, so Juilliard-trained trumpeter Alan Rubin was brought in, as was guitarist trumpet player and a hot blues guitarist, so Juilliard-trained trumpeter Alan Rubin was brought in, as was guitarist Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who had performed with many blues legends.

For the brothers' look, Belushi borrowed John Lee Hooker's trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses and soul patch.

Their style was fresh and in many ways, different from prevailing musical trends: A very raw and "live" sound compared to the increasing use of sound synthesis and vocal-dominated music of the late 1970s and 1980s.

While the music of the Blues Brothers is based on R&B, blues, and soul, it also drew heavily on rock and jazz elements, usually taking a blues standard and bringing a rock sound and style to it.[citation needed] The band could be drawn into three sections: the four-man horn section, the traditional rock instruments of the five-man rhythm section[citation needed], and the two singing brothers. The sound of the band was a synthesis of two different traditions: the horn players all came from the clean, precise, jazz-influenced sound of New York City; while the rhythm section came from the grittier soul and blues sound of Chicago and Memphis. The success of this meld was due both to Shaffer's arrangements and to the musicians' talents.[citation needed]

In Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, a 1998 documentary included on some DVD editions of the first Blues Brothers film, Cropper noted that some of his peers thought that

In Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, a 1998 documentary included on some DVD editions of the first Blues Brothers film, Cropper noted that some of his peers thought that he and the other musicians backing the Blues Brothers were selling out to Hollywood or using a gimmick to make some quick money. Cropper responded by stating that he thought Belushi was as good as (or even better than) many of the singers he had backed; he also noted that Belushi had, early in his career, briefly been a professional drummer, and had an especially keen sense of rhythm.

The Blues Brothers recorded their first album, Briefcase Full of Blues, in 1978 while opening for comedian Steve Martin at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre. The album reached #1 on the Billboard 200, went double platinum, and featured Top 40 hit recordings of Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" and The Chips' "Rubber Biscuit".

The album liner notes fleshed out the fictional back story of Jake and Elwood,[1] having them growing up in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Rock Island, Illinois

The album liner notes fleshed out the fictional back story of Jake and Elwood,[1] having them growing up in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Rock Island, Illinois[note 2] and learning the blues from a janitor named Curtis. Their blood brotherhood was sealed by cutting their middle fingers with a string said to come from the guitar of Elmore James.[10]

The band, along with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, opened for the Grateful Dead for the final show at Winterland, New Year's Eve 1978.

With the film, came the soundtrack album, which was the band's first studio album. "Gimme Some Lovin'" was a Top 40 hit and the band toured to promote the film, The tour began on June 27, 1980 at Poplar Creek Music Theater. The tour also led to a third album (and second live album), Made in America, recorded at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1980. The track "Who's Making Love" peaked at No 39. It was the last recording the band would make with Belushi's Jake Blues.

Belushi's wife, Judith Jacklin, and his friend, Tino Insana, wrote a book, Blues Brothers: Private, that further fleshed out the Blues Brothers' universe and gave a back story for the first movie.

In 1981, Best of the Blues Brothers was released, with a previously unreleased track, a version of The Soul Survivors' "Expressway to Your Heart", and alternate live recordings of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and "Rubber Biscuit"; this album would be the first of several compilations and hits collections issued over the years. A 1998 British CD compilation, The Complete Blues Brothers, exclusively featured The Lamont Cranston Band's "Excuse Moi Mon Cheri", from the L.A. Briefcase recordings, originally available only as the b-side to the "Soul Man" 45 rpm single.

On March 5, 1982, Belushi died in Hollywood of an accidental overdose of heroin and cocaine.

After Belushi's death, updated versions of the Blues Brothers have performed on SNL and for charitable and political causes. Aykroyd has been accompanied by Jim Belushi and John Goodman in character as "Zee" Blues and "Mighty Mack" McTeer. The copyright owners have also authorized some copycat acts to perform under the Blues Brothers name; one such act performs regularly at the Universal Studios Florida theme park in Orlando, Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood.

In 1995 the Band collaborated with the Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari, who had been invited to the event in memory of the 46th John Belushi's birthday. After a concert together, they registered the videoclip of the famous Zucchero song "Per Colpa Di Chi?" at the House of Blues. In 1997, an animated sitcom with Jake and Elwood was planned, but scrapped after only eight episodes were produced. Peter Aykroyd and Jim Belushi replaced their brothers as the voices of Elwood and Jake.[11]

To promote Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and John Goodman performed at the halftime of Super Bowl XXXI, along with ZZ Top and James Brown. The performance was preceded with a faux news report stating the Blues Brothers had escaped custody and were on their way to the Louisiana Superdome.

Aykroyd has continued to be an active proponent of blues music and parlayed this avocation into foundation and partial ownership of the House of Blues franchise, a national chain of nightclubs. In Italy the franchise is now owned by Zucchero, who used the brand during the tour promoting his album Black Cat of 2016.

Jim Belushi toured with the band for a short time as "Zee Blues", and recorded the album Blues Brothers & Friends: Live from House of Blues with Dan Aykroyd. Jim would later reunite with Aykroyd to record yet another album, not as the Blues Brothers but as themselves: Belushi/Aykroyd – Have Love Will Travel (Big Men-Big Music).

In 2004, the musical The Blues Brothers Revival premiered in Chicago. The story was about Elwood trying to rescue Jake from an eternity in limbo/purgatory. The musical was written and composed with approval and permission from both the John Belushi estate (including his widow, Judith Belushi-Pisano) and Dan Aykroyd.

The Blues Brothers featuring Elwood and Zee regularly perform at House of Blues venues and various casinos across North America. They are usually backed by Jim Belushi's Sacred Hearts Band. The Original Blues Brothers Band tours the world regularly. The only original members still in the band are Steve Cropper and Lou Marini. The lead singers are Bobby "Sweet Soul" Harden, Rob "The Honeydripper" Papparozi and Tommy "Pipes" McDonnel. They are occasionally joined by Eddie Floyd.

Aykroyd most recently hosted a radio show as his character Elwood Blues on the weekly House of Blues Radio Hour, heard nationwide on the Dial Global Radio Network until 2017. It has now been succeeded by The Sam T. Blues Revue which airs Wednesday nights on KHBT.[12]

In 1980, The Blues Brothers, directed by John Landis, was released. It featured epic car chases involving the Bluesmobile and musical performances by Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker.[1] The story is set in and around Chicago, Illinois. It is a tale of redemption for the paroled convict Jake Blues and his brother Elwood, who after a visit to Sister Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman), otherwise known as "The Penguin" at the Catholic orphanage where they grew up, choose to take on a "mission from God" and reform their old blues band in order to raise funds to save the orphanage. Along the way, the brothers are targeted by a "mystery woman" (Carrie Fisher) and chased by the Illinois State Police, a country and western band called the Good Ol' Boys, and "Illinois Nazis". The film grossed $57 million domestically in its theatrical release, making it the 10th highest-grossing movie of 1980, and grossed an additional $58 million in foreign release.[13]

Blues Brothers 2000

With Landis again directing, the sequel to The Blues Brothers was made in 1998. It fared considerably worse than its predecessor with fans and critics, though it is more ambitious in terms of musical performances by the band and has a more extensive roster of guest artists than the first film. The story

With Landis again directing, the sequel to The Blues Brothers was made in 1998. It fared considerably worse than its predecessor with fans and critics, though it is more ambitious in terms of musical performances by the band and has a more extensive roster of guest artists than the first film. The story picks up 18 years later with Elwood being released from prison, and learning that his brother has died. He is once again prevailed upon to save some orphans, and with a 10-year-old boy named Buster Blues (J. Evan Bonifant) in tow, Elwood again sets about the task of reuniting his band. He recruits some new singers, Mighty Mack (John Goodman) and Cab (Joe Morton), a policeman who was Curtis' son. All the original band members are found, as well as some performers from the first film, including Aretha Franklin and James Brown. There are dozens of other guest performers, including Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes, Sam Moore, Taj Mahal and Jonny Lang, Blues Traveler, as well as an all-star supergroup led by B.B. King called the Louisiana Gator Boys. On the run from the police, Russian mafia and a racist militia, the band eventually ends up in Louisiana, where they enter a battle of the bands overseen by a voodoo practitioner named Queen Moussette (Erykah Badu). During a song by the Blues Brothers (a Caribbean number called "Funky Nassau"), a character played by Paul Shaffer asks to cut in on keyboards, which Murph allows. This marks the first time in a film that the Blues Brothers play with their original keyboardist.

Discography

Studio albums

At times, other members have included:

Notes

  1. Jim Belushi (as "Brother" Zee Blues) – vocals
  2. John Goodman (as "Mighty Mack" McTeer) – vocals
  3. Buster Blues – harmonica, vocals (acted by J. Evan Bonifant in Blues Brothers 2000, actual harmonica recorded by John Popper)
  4. Joe Morton (as Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain) – vocals
  5. Cab Calloway – vocals (d. 1994)[18]
  6. Larry "T" Thurston – vocals
  7. Eddie "Knock on Wood" Floyd – vocals
  8. Sam "Soul Man" Moore – vocals
  9. Bobby "Sweet Soul" Harden – vocals
  10. Tommy "Pipes" McDonnell – harmonica, vocals
  11. Rob "The Honeydripper" Paparozzi – harmonica, vocals
  12. Leon "The Lion" Pendarvis – piano, vocals, arranger
  13. Danny "G-Force" Gottlieb – drums
  14. Jimmy "Jimmy B" Biggins – saxophone
  15. Anthony "Rusty" Cloud – clavinet, Wurlitzer, piano and organ
  16. Eric "The Red" Udel – bass
  17. John "Smokin" Tropea – guitar
  18. Jimmy "Mack" Hodge – guitar
  19. Lee "Funky Time" Finkelstein – drums
  20. Steve Potts – drums
  21. Anton Fig – drums
  22. Larry "Trombonius Maximus" Farrell – trombone
  23. Alto Reed – saxophone
  24. Steve "Catfish" Howard – trumpet
  25. Jonny "The Rock & Roll Doctor" Rosch – vocals, harmonica
  26. Francisco Simon – guitar
  27. Notes

    1. ^ Aykroy