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The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers (1980)

In the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were comedic gods.  In a sketch in 1976, in their famed bee costumes played “I’m A King Bee” with the house band, which at the time seemed like a one-off, but it was a hit with a lot of people on and off the show.  

Aykroyd, who had a background in blues music from his days in a band in his native Ottawa, Ontario, Canada introduced his friend and castmate to the musical genre.  It was a prefect fit for Belushi’s singing, which while lacking in range, had a distinct grovel and undeniable soul to it.  It wasn’t long after the Blues Brothers were born.

The duo would jam, develop a look of dark suits, sunglasses and hats and did the cold open on a Steve Martin hosted show in 1978.  It was an instant and needed to be duplicated.

Belushi and Aykroyd set out to assemble a real band and it was one hell of a line-up: 

In addition to Belushi (lead vocals) and Aykroyd (background vocals and harmonica), the band had:

Steve Cropper (lead guitarist), who was a former member of Booker T & the M.G.’s.

Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass guitar), who was also with Booker T & the M.G.’s.

Matt “Guitar” Murphy (lead guitar and rhythm guitar), who was part of Howlin’ Wolf’s band and respected session musician.

Willie “Too Big” Hall (drums), formerly with the Bar-Kays, and was also with Isaac Hayes’ band.  

Tom “Bones” Malone (trombone), formerly with Blood, Sweat & Tears and then a member of the Saturday Night Live band.

“Blue” Lou Marini (saxophone), who was also with Blood, Sweat & Tears and like Malone was with the SNL band.

Alan “Mr. Fabulous” Rubin (trumpet), a classically trained trumpet player who was a member of the SNL band.

Paul Shaffer (keyboards), who was also with the SNL band and would later gain greater fame as the band director for David Letterman. (it should be noted that Shaffer could not appear in the film due to a commitment to Gilda Radner and was replaced by Murphy Dunne)

Not a bad line-up, right?

The Blues Brothers would be brought back as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live and would release “A Briefcase Full of Blues”, an album that went to the top of the Billboard Album Charts, illustrating just how popular the comedy duo was.  They toured with Steve Martin (who was selling out arenas with his comedy) and while it can be argued that the album’s success was largely based on the Aykroyd and Belushi’s popularity (especially Belushi as Animal House had just come out making him an even bigger star), those who bought the album found that they had a really good collection of covers done by people who now how to do it.

The album’s liner notes also gave fans the backstory for Jake and Elwood, who were raised in a Chicago orphanage, where the local janitor, Curtis, taught them all about the blues sound and a book telling their history (written by Belushi’s wife) and their fictional biography was complete…all that was needed was a movie. 

Directed by John Landis, the Blues Brothers film was a hit.  The plot saw Jake (Belushi) get out of jail to reunite with Elwood (Aykroyd) who looked to band back together with the purpose of raising enough money to pay the pack taxes on the orphanage they grew up to save it from foreclosure.

The film featured great music, possibly the best car chase of all time (or at least the longest), quotes that withstood time’s test and Belushi (sadly due to his premature death from a drug overdose) is more iconic than ever.  

In addition to what was already a superb musical line-up, Cab Calloway appeared as Curtis, and Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and James Brown treated us to performances.  For many young fans, this was the first exposure to early soul and R&B music and intended or not segued a lot of people to the Blues and early R&B.

 The Blues Brothers had a great movie, originating from a legendary show and had a number one album.

Great job voters and it is with pride that we welcome the Blues Brothers to the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

The Bullet Points:
TV Show and Movies Appeared:
Saturday Night Live (1976-79)
The Blues Brothers (1980)

John Belushi (Joilet Jake Blues)
Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues)

Songs you might remember:
Hold On
Sweet Home Chicacgo
Gimme Some Lovin’
Soul Man
Everybody Needs Somebody




The Fictitious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's First Class is announced!

This is a big day for us.

After three rounds, the Preliminary, the Semi-Finals and the Finals, the Fictitious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the first class after one full year of online voting from all of you.

We are pleased to announce that the Blues Brothers, Spinal Tap and the Monkees have been selected by all of you as the first full class of the Fictitious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Portrayed by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, the Blues Brothers received the most votes.  “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues fronted an all-star band that was originally seen on Saturday Night Live.  In their 1980 feature film, the siblings were on “a mission from God” and inadvertently introduced classic blues music to a new generation.

Finishing second in the vote was Spinal Tap, who were also portrayed by Saturday Night Live alumnus.  Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls) created what is considered to be the best “mockumentary” of all time and is considered a classic. 

The final inductees of the first class are the Monkees, who were assembled to portray a fictional band but would later become one.  The Monkees (Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz) were one of the most successful pop groups of the 1960’s.

These three inductees beat out the following finalists (in order of their vote totals) in the Final Round:

- Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem (The Muppets)

- Tenacious D (Tenacious D)

- The Wonders (That Thing You Do!)

- Otis Day & The Knights (Animal House)

- Wyld Stallyns (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

- Eddie and the Cruisers (Eddie and the Cruisers)

- The Commitments (The Commitments)

- Ricky Ricardo (I Love Lucy)

- Alvin and the Chipmunks

- The Archies (The Archie Show)

- The School of Rock (School of Rock)

- Stillwater (Almost Famous)

Voting is now open for the Preliminary round for the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class. 

Like last year, there will be a Preliminary round leading to 40 Semi-Finalist Candidates, which will pared down to 15 Finalists. 

The site can be found here:

We encourage you all to cast your vote for next year and thank you for your support for this endeavor!

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