John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

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John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
John Mayall (1970).png
John Mayall in 1970, the year The Bluesbreakers broke up
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active
  • 1963 (1963)–1970 (1970)
  • 1982 (1982)–2008 (2008)
Labels
Associated acts
Website johnmayall.com

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers was an English blues rock band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. While never producing a radio-friendly hit on their own, the Bluesbreakers' greatest legacy is as an incubator for British rock and blues musicians. Many of the best known bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s had members that came through the Bluesbreakers at one time, forming the foundation of British blues music that still appears heavily in classic rock radio. Among those with a tenure in the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (later of Cream), Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie (who would form Fleetwood Mac), Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones), Aynsley Dunbar (Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention), and numerous other musicians.

Blues rock is a fusion genre combining elements of blues and rock. It is mostly an electric ensemble-style music with instrumentation similar to electric blues and rock: electric guitar, electric bass, and drums, often with Hammond organ. From its beginnings in the early- to mid-1960s, blues rock has gone through several stylistic shifts and along the way it inspired and influenced hard rock, Southern rock, and early heavy metal. Blues rock continues to be an influence in the 2010s, with performances and recordings by popular artists.

John Mayall English blues musician

John Mayall, OBE is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians. They include Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser, Johnny Almond, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Kal David, and Buddy Whittington.

Order of the British Empire order of chivalry of British constitutional monarchy

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Contents

Mayall used the band name between 1963 and 1967, but then dropped it for some fifteen years. However, in 1982 a 'Return of the Bluesbreakers' was announced, and the name was in use until the band again dissolved in 2008. The name has become generic, without a clear distinction between recordings that are to be credited to Mayall alone and recordings that are to be credited to Mayall and his band.

History

The band that would evolve to the Bluesbreakers in 1965 [1] was formed in March 1963 and became an ever-evolving lineup of more than 100 different combinations of musicians performing under that name. [2] Eric Clapton joined in April 1965, just a few months after the release of their first album. Clapton brought guitar-led blues influences to the forefront of the group; he had left The Yardbirds in order to concentrate on the blues.

The Yardbirds English band

The Yardbirds are an English rock band, formed in London in 1963. The band's core lineup featured vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith. The band is known for starting the careers of three of rock's most famous guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, all of whom ranked in the top five of Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 greatest guitarists. The band had a string of hits throughout the mid-1960s, including "For Your Love", "Heart Full of Soul", "Shapes of Things" and "Over Under Sideways Down".

The first single released by John Mayall and his band, in May 1964, was the song "Crawling Up a Hill", with "Mr. James" as the b-side. The band on the single were Peter Ward, John McVie on bass, Bernie Watson on guitar, and Martin Hart on drums. [3] After the single release, Bernie Watson was replaced by Roger Dean, and Martin Hart was replaced by Hughie Flint. This lineup played on John Mayall Plays John Mayall . After this, the band released a single called "Crocodile Walk", with "Blues City Shakedown" as the b-side. The single was produced by Decca producer Tony Clarke. [4] Roger Dean then left the group and was replaced by Eric Clapton. [5]

John McVie British musician

John Graham McVie is a British bass guitarist, best known as a member of the rock bands John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers from 1964 to 1967 and Fleetwood Mac since 1967. His surname, combined with that of Mick Fleetwood, was the inspiration for the band's name. He joined Fleetwood Mac shortly after its formation by guitarist Peter Green in 1967, replacing temporary bass guitarist Bob Brunning. McVie and Fleetwood are the only two members of the group to appear on every Fleetwood Mac release, and for over forty years have been the group's only remaining original members.

Hughie Flint is an English drummer, known for his stint in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, for his group McGuinness Flint in the early 1970s and for his subsequent association with The Blues Band.

<i>John Mayall Plays John Mayall</i> 1965 live album by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

John Mayall Plays John Mayall is the debut album by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, released in 1965, Decca LK 4680. This album was recorded live at Klooks Kleek on 7 December 1964. Roger Dean stated in an interview that they ran cables out of the window of the club to the Decca Studio about 100 yards away for this recording.

The group lost their record contract with Decca that year, which also saw the release of a single called "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (produced by Jimmy Page) in October 1965, the first credited to John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, [1] followed by a return to Decca in 1966. Then in August 1966 John Mayall and Eric Clapton released the single "Lonely Years", with the b-side "Bernard Jenkins", [1] which was released by Purdah Records. [6] The album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton was released in July; [1] it reached the Top Ten in the UK.

Decca Records US/British record label

Decca Records is a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades. The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.

Jimmy Page British guitarist of Led Zeppelin

James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

<i>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</i> 1966 studio album by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton is a 1966 blues/blues rock album recorded by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton as part of the band. It is the second album credited to John Mayall after the live John Mayall Plays John Mayall. Clapton left to form Cream after this recording, though would team up again in 1971 for the double LP Back to the Roots.

Shortly after Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton was released, Eric Clapton went to see Buddy Guy in concert, and being impressed by his trio, the idea for Cream was formed, and he left to form this new group with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. [7] Clapton was replaced by Peter Green for A Hard Road , after which Green left to form Fleetwood Mac.

Buddy Guy American blues guitarist and singer

George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced eminent guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr. and John Mayer. In the 1960s, Guy played with Muddy Waters as a house guitarist at Chess Records and began a musical partnership with the harmonica player Junior Wells.

Ginger Baker English rock drummer

Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer," while his individual style melds a jazz background with African rhythms. Baker is credited as a pioneer of drumming in genres like jazz fusion, heavy metal and world music.

Jack Bruce Scottish musician, bassist of Cream

John Symon Asher Bruce was a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter known primarily for his contributions to the British supergroup Cream, which also included the guitarist-singer Eric Clapton and the drummer Ginger Baker. In March 2011 Rolling Stone readers selected him as the eighth greatest bass guitarist of all time. "Most musicians would have a very hard time distinguishing themselves if they wound up in a band with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker," the magazine said at the time, "but Jack Bruce was so gifted on the bass that he did it with ease."

Then Mick Taylor joined the group, and they recorded Crusade on 12 July 1967. Soon after, McVie joined Fleetwood Mac and was replaced by Tony Reeves for the album Bare Wires , which was their highest-charting UK album. Following a further album, Blues from Laurel Canyon ,Taylor then left to join the Rolling Stones, and the name "Bluesbreakers" was dropped from John Mayall albums.

Mick Taylor British rock musician, former member of The Rolling Stones

Michael Kevin Taylor is an English musician, best known as a former member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (1966–69) and the Rolling Stones (1969–74). He has appeared on some of the Stones' classic albums including Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St..

<i>Crusade</i> (album) 1967 studio album by John Mayalls Bluesbreakers

Crusade is the fourth album and third studio album by the British blues rock band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, released on 1 September 1967 on Decca Records. It was the follow-up to A Hard Road, also released in 1967. As with their two previous albums, Crusade was produced by Mike Vernon. The album was the first recordings of the then-18-year-old guitarist, Mick Taylor.

Anthony "Tony" Reeves is an English bass guitarist/contrabassist, noted for his "extremely prominent and complex bass sound" and use of electronic effects.

By the time the 1960s were over, the Bluesbreakers had finally achieved some success in the United States.

Joe Yuele, drummer with the band, 2008 Joe Yuele with John Mayall 2008.jpg
Joe Yuele, drummer with the band, 2008

With some interruptions, the Bluesbreakers have continued to tour and release albums (over 50 to date), though they never achieved the critical or popular acclaim of their earlier material. In 2003, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Chris Barber reunited with the band for John Mayall's 70th Birthday Concert in Liverpool—the concert was later released on CD and DVD. In 2004, their lineup included Buddy Whittington, Joe Yuele, Hank Van Sickle and Tom Canning, and the band toured the UK with Mick Taylor as a guest musician.

In November 2008, Mayall announced on his website he was disbanding the Bluesbreakers, to cut back on his heavy workload and give himself freedom to work with other musicians. A 2009 solo tour with Rocky Athas (formerly of Black Oak Arkansas) was the first musical venture Mayall undertook after disbanding his former band. [8] Former band member Johnny Almond died on 18 November 2009 from cancer, aged 63. [9]

However, in 2009, Eagle Records asked Mayall for a new album, and he put together a solo band including Rocky Athas (guitar), Tom Canning (keyboard), Greg Rzab (bass) and Jay Davenport (percussion) and produced the album Tough the same year. After a year, Canning left because of other priorities. [10]

Members

Final lineup

Discography

Studio albums

See also

Related Research Articles

Electric blues refers to any type of blues music distinguished by the use of electric amplification for musical instruments. The guitar was the first instrument to be popularly amplified and used by early pioneers T-Bone Walker in the late 1930s and John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters in the 1940s. Their styles developed into West Coast blues, Detroit blues, and post-World War II Chicago blues, which differed from earlier, predominantly acoustic-style blues. By the early 1950s, Little Walter was a featured soloist on blues harmonica or blues harp using a small hand-held microphone fed into a guitar amplifier. Although it took a little longer, the electric bass guitar gradually replaced the stand-up bass by the early 1960s. Electric organs and especially keyboards later became widely used in electric blues.

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<i>Fleetwood Mac</i> (1968 album) 1968 studio album by Fleetwood Mac

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<i>70th Birthday Concert</i> live album by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

70th Birthday Concert is a live electric blues video recording of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers to celebrate Mayall's 70th Birthday. Recorded in Liverpool, England on July 19 2003, the concert was notable as it featured Eric Clapton as a guest, so marked the first time he and Mayall had performed together in almost 40 years. The set also features Mick Taylor and Chris Barber.

<i>Blues from Laurel Canyon</i> 1968 studio album by John Mayall

Blues from Laurel Canyon is a 1968 album by John Mayall, featuring British blues music. It was his first album after the breakup of his band the Bluesbreakers in May 1968, though others claim it was on 14 July 1968. It was also his last album with Decca before moving to Polydor.

Michael William Hugh "Mike" Vernon is an English music executive studio owner, and record producer from Harrow, Middlesex. He produced albums for British blues artists and groups in the 1960s, working with the Bluesbreakers, David Bowie, Duster Bennett, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Climax Blues Band, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John Mayall, Christine McVie and Ten Years After amongst others.

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<i>The 1982 Reunion Concert</i> 1994 live album by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

The 1982 Reunion Concert is a live album from a concert by British Bluesman John Mayall. His sidemen are Mick Taylor on guitar, John McVie on bass and Colin Allen on drums. The concert took place at the Wax Museum, Washington DC, on 17 June 1982. It was released in 1994 by Repertoire Records as a CD credited to John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

Roger Dean was a British guitar player and teacher. First took piano lessons at age 7, then guitar at age 10. Then had musical training at Eric Guilder guitar school in London with teacher Ivor Mairants. His professional career ran over 40 years until he retired following a car crash in 2004. During the 1960s he played in a number of bands which left few traces in the history of popular music. The notable exception occurred when he joined briefly John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Dean's guitar is heard on Mayall's first album and single. Leaving Mayall, he went to work with his former band the Nu Notes. In 1971, he played with a band called Spike Island and recorded an album with them, a mixture of folk, country and world music. Later, as a member of various other bands like The Bluejays, P. P. Arnold's backing band and The Bad Boys, he recorded on some hits, but gradually turned to more anonymous work as a session musician playing for TV shows, backing stars and other lucrative jobs, such as cruises on the QE2 as guitarist with The Joe Loss Orchestra. In 1978, Dean became the first western musician allowed to play on electric guitar in China. From 1992 he held teaching posts at various British schools. After a serious illness, Dean died in 2008.

Buddy Whittington American guitarist

Buddy Whittington, born on December 28, 1956, in Fort Worth, Texas, is an American guitarist. He began playing the guitar inspired by his sister's records of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. At the age of 14 he was already a part of the Dallas/Fort Worth music scene and playing regularly in the clubs along Jacksboro Highway. While attending L.D. Bell High School, Whittington played in a band called Short Change, which opened for Point Blank, a band that he would later join, replacing guitar player Kim Davis. During the early 1980s, he formed and sang with his own band, The Sidemen. In 1991, they opened for John Mayall and when Coco Montoya left the Bluesbreakers in 1993, Mayall called him to take his place in the band. In Mayall's band Whittington sang occasionally and contributed to songwriting. When, after fifteen years, Mayall disbanded the Bluesbreakers, Whittington continued to gig in Texas, but also joined forces with Roger Cotton and Pete Stroud, who had toured with Mayall as part of Peter Green's band.

<i>Bare Wires</i> 1968 album by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

For the American band see Matthew Melton

<i>Looking Back</i> (John Mayall album) 1969 compilation album by John Mayall

Looking Back is the seventh album released by John Mayall in August 1969 by Decca Records. The album features songs by both John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and John Mayall solo work. The album reached No. 79 on the Billboard 200. Confusingly, there are two different albums with the title "Looking Back": a Decca UK release as a single album and a Decca Germany release as a double album. Later issues on CD would use the Deram label.

Wake Up Call is an album by British bluesman John Mayall with various special guest appearances by Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Mavis Staples and other musicians, released on 6 April 1993.

John Mayall discography

The discography of English blues rock musician John Mayall, including the band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, consists of 35 studio albums, 34 live albums, 24 compilation albums, four extended plays (EPs), 44 singles and four video albums. Mayall's 36th studio album is scheduled to be released in 2019.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "The Eric Clapton Lyric Archive – Search By Album". Eric-clapton.co.uk. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  2. The Complete Rock Family Trees, Omnibus Press (Dec 1983, ISBN   978-0-7119-0465-1) lists 109 different lineups
  3. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 134. CN 5585.
  4. "John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers – Crocodile Walk". YouTube. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  5. "Roger Dean – Bluesbreaker, Bluejay, Guitarist and more – Timeline". Rogerdean.info. 16 March 1943. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  6. "Artists: J". 45-rpm.org.uk. 10 February 1910. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  7. Clapton, Eric (2007). Clapton: The Autobiography. Broadway.
  8. "Newsletter". John Mayall. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  9. Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  10. "Mayall History". John Mayall. Retrieved 11 December 2012.