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The Blues Brothers

Whether celebrated as a sincere tribute or derided as a tongue-in-cheek put-on, the Blues Brothers -- Joliet Jake and his silent brother Elwood -- was among the most popular groups of the late '70s; what started as a skit on the hit NBC television sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live quickly snowballed to become a true phenomenon, complete with hit records, a sold-out concert tour, and even a feature film. Clad in vintage black suits, narrow ties, fedoras, and omnipresent wrap-around sunglasses, the Blues Brothers delivered spirited renditions of classic soul hits in the tradition of the signature Stax-Volt sound; purists may still cringe, but if nothing else the group deserves credit for introducing any number of soul and blues classics to a new generation of listeners while also allowing some of the most gifted session men in the business a chance to shine on-stage and -screen.

According to "Don Kirshner" (actually Saturday Night Live bandleader Paul Shaffer in disguise), the Blues Brothers' history was as follows: "In 1969, Marshall Checker, of the legendary Checkers Records, called me on a new blues act that had been playing in the small, funky clubs on Chicago's South Side....Today they are no longer an authentic blues act, but have managed to become a viable commercial product." In reality, however, vocalist Jake and harpist Elwood Blues were music lovers John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, two of SNL's brightest stars who created their respective aliases in early 1976 to warm up crowds before performances of the hit series. The Blues Brothers made their national TV debut with Belushi and Aykroyd outfitted in the bee costumes they often wore for another sketch, performing (naturally enough) Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," and in the months to follow they grew in popularity, appearing on the program with increasing regularity.

The Blues Brothers' band included top Memphis session men like guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, who together appeared on many of the original Stax label recordings of songs in the group's repertoire; later incarnations also featured notables like bluesman Matt "Guitar" Murphy. While opening for comedian Steve Martin in Los Angeles in 1978, the Blues Brothers recorded their debut live LP, Briefcase Full of Blues; the album quickly went platinum, launching Top 40 hit covers of "Soul Man" and "Rubber Biscuit." They also toured in 1980 to promote their feature-length movie, The Blues Brothers, a sprawling musical comedy featuring cameos by everyone from Cab Calloway to Aretha Franklin, as well as their second LP, Made in America; two more Top 40 hits -- "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "Who's Making Love" -- appeared that same year.

In 1981, The Best of the Blues Brothers was released, further solidifying their massive popularity; however, on March 5, 1982, Belushi died in Hollywood of an accidental drug overdose, and the Blues Brothers' saga was effectively over. Or so it seemed; as the movie remained a cult favorite and old Saturday Night Live sketches continued to run in syndication, the group's "legend" continued to grow, and, in 1988, Cropper, Dunn, Murphy, and other players re-formed the Blues Brothers Band for a world tour, often backing singer Eddie Floyd. In 1992, they even cut a new LP, Red White and Blues, which featured a guest appearance from Aykroyd/Elwood. Around the same time, Aykroyd also mounted his House of Blues franchise, an international chain of upscale blues joints; he, actor John Goodman, and Belushi's brother Jim also appeared on occasion in a new Blues Brothers lineup. Finally, in 1998 a second movie, Blues Brothers 2000, was released to negative reviews and poor box office returns. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

John Belushi and Dan A. Were very influenced by the vocals of Sam & Dave and the music and lyrics of Isaac Hayes and Steve Cropper. Good job guys! I love when Aretha yells at Elwood!
Also traded the Cady for a Microphone.
I'm a giant fan of this music. Growing up in Chi town in the 60's it was all over. Soul and blues were king. I never saw the band play but have seen the movie many many times. But that address 1060 west Addison that's Wrigley Field. Great stuff!!! Pauli from Chi town. Loved JB
Saw them perform at a small Long Island club, as a warm up to their SNL performance. Literally blue me away.
Love these dudes!
WOW the best Blues band. Love that Chi town sound. They played lots of old hits from my childhood on the streets of Chi. Blues R&B and soul. That was it in the 60's in Chi town. RIP JB.
"Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis."
frederica.br i d g e t t e
Sound like brothers a little
With out a doubt top ten movies just for the music alone never mind the one liners glue strong stuff
The Blues Brothers were my first example of Blues music. I still remember the rant that Aykroyd went on in the first movies and all the great blues names he said. These guys are the reason I listen to things like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimburogh. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I believe that is why such great musicians joined them on stage. Just look at the line-up of music all-stars at the end of both movies.
Mostly positive comments, and rightly so. I think these guys fell into a dream, and ran with it. Like others before me said- if you doubt their street cred, check out the band and see what THEY thought. They turned a lot of people onto the best style of music ever made.
Man I remember watching this on the movie. It's was so funny.
paulstokle
Cool. Nuf said!
Blues brothers so random yo.
Soul man
I loved there movie I'm a big fan of them and there music and hope El wood is doing good in heaven
For all the few naysayers, check out the credentials of the backing band. Other than possibly the Tower of Power will you find a horn driven band this good. Tom Malone and Paul Schaeffer are near genius
how often does the train go by? So often you won't even notice.
To Patrick Stephens and all he other haters f*rting neg comments about the Blues Brothers over here, LIGHTEN UP! Have you reintroduced and brought back to life an entire almost dead genre of music revitalizing the carrers of some of the most relevant musicians in the history of Blues? Have you been in the Top movie (Animal House), the top Late night show (SNL), and had a Top selling album (Briefcase Full of Blues) all during the same period of time? Have you ever been a screenwriter for top movi
Ic it don't bounce back......yo u go huuungry! Bow Bow Bow
Love it.
You need to add the soundtracks of both movies to the discography! Please!!
Fix the cigarette lighter. Awesome session musos helped them sound cool. But their passion was infectious! Steered many to the blues - gotta be a good thing.
dougieyellow j a c k e t
Matt Guitar Murphy is the joint!!!
The Blues Brothers were passionate about making music, and Dan Ackroyd has continued to hone his harmonica skills. What is most important about the Blues Bros. is not their produced music, but that they helped a generation appreciate the blues. Their covers created interest for kids who only listened to Classic Rock.
vkidwell
Those of us who still like to smile -- we will always miss you John.
Oh wow! How much fun this is! Soul Man is my fave, would love to have been able to see them in concert,even on a sidewalk;any w h e r e !
The blues brothers!! They still owe u money fool!!! Omg I love that movie it never gets old!! Oh and I would like four WHOLE fried chickens and a coke!!
Goofy! But Cool also Blue Eye Soul!
marmofarmo
In real life Belushi was inspired by Eugene Oregon REAL bluesman Curtis Salgado, who John saw performing at the Eugene Hotel lounge when filming Animal House Check the dedication on the original vinyl record jacket....JW M / P o r t l a n d OR.
Seen the movie so many time but never get tired of it love the police chase scenes
Loved the movie, but this version of this great song sucks....
Elwood: Its 106 miles to chicago, we have a half a gas, half a pack of cigaretts, its dark out and we are wearing sunglasses.
Jake: HIT IT!
Dont read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible friday by the love of Ur life. Tomorrow will be the best day of Ur life. However if u don't post this comment on at least 3 songs u will die in 2 days. Now you've start reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually works.
rdhaag1
Ya got my Cheeze Wiz boy?...
cgs13
that would be Marshall Chess, not Checker...
e_bluedot
I hate Illinois nazis
You don't like the car?
The second movie just had the dumbest plot ever... zombies? Really? But the first? Classic!
And some dry white toast please.
dwc82
Four fried chickens and a Coke... Priceless!
jeez, dude, you are such a buzzkill... try and realize ... they were havin fun something you only vaguely understand ,, albeit a good one
slkilleb
Sure, Akroyd and Belushi were terribly funny and they loved the blues. They were famous and they were somewhat responsible for bringing blues music to the mainstream. But they were NOT the best band ever. Not even pure blues. Try Fred McDowell, John Hurt, Howlin Wolf, etc. The Blues Brothers were a joke, albeit a good one
we're on a mission from God!
Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips. How much for the little girl? We want to buy the women, how much for the women?
Let's not forget the REAL origin of the Blues Brothers...t h e legendary jams--I witnessed, they were amazing--at the fabled EUGENE HOTEL, Belushi would get up with the Cray/Salgado Band after shooting ANIMAL HOUSE and they'd wail for hours....Sch a f f e r / K i r s h n e r did acknowledge this in his famous SNL intro, but it bears repeating!
Elwood: I bet he's got S.C.M.O.D.S.
Jake: S.C.M.O.D.S. ?
Elwood: State County Municipal Offender Data Systems.
525433228
GOTS TO HAVE THE SPACE. ALLL OF IT. GOTS TO HAVE ROOM TO MOVE IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.LOL!
didi you have to use all of that space
awesome blues !
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