The Blues Brothers Biography

The Blues Brothers Biography

The Blues Brothers Biography

Formed in 1978, this US group was centred on comedians John Belushi (24 January 1949, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 5 March 1982, Los Angeles, California, USA) and Dan Aykroyd (b. 1 July 1952, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). Renowned for contributions to the satirical National Lampoon team and television’s Saturday Night Live, the duo formed this 60s-soul-styled revue as a riposte to disco.

Assuming the epithets Joliet ‘Jake’ Blues (Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Aykroyd), they embarked on live appearances with the assistance of a crack backing group, which included Steve Cropper (guitar), Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn (bass) and Tom Scott (saxophone). Briefcase Full Of Blues topped the US charts, a success that in turn inspired the movie The Blues Brothers (1980). Although reviled by several music critics, there was no denying the refreshing enthusiasm the participants brought to R&B and the venture has since acquired a cult status.

An affectionate, if anarchic, tribute to soul and R&B, it featured cameo appearances by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and James Brown. Belushi’s death from a drug overdose in 1982 brought the original concept to a premature end, since which time Aykroyd has continued a successful acting career. However, several of the musicians, including Cropper and Dunn, later toured and recorded as the Blues Brothers Band.

The original Blues Brothers have also inspired numerous copy-cat/tribute groups who still attract sizeable audiences, over 20 years after the movie’s release. In August 1991, interest in the concept was again boosted with a revival theatre production in London’s West End. A critically slated sequel, Blues Brothers 2000, was released in 1998, with Belushi replaced by ex-Roseanne star John Goodman.

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