Happy 80th Birthday John Mayall!

Happy 80th Birthday John Mayall!

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John Mayall is to British blues what Muddy Waters is to the electric blues of Chicago – the Godfather.  In the early 1960s Mayall’s band, the Bluesbreakers, was a finishing school for the UK musicians who ultimately brought the blues to the masses. There was Eric Clapton. Jack Bruce. Peter Green, John McVie. Mick Taylor. And that’s just to name a few.

John Mayall’s helped to shape such massive talent that it’s easy to forget he had a few mentors himself. The recorded voices of American musicians, drifting over the wide Atlantic Ocean.

Bluesbreakers_John_Mayall_with_Eric_ClaptonJM:     Well, in a sense, I mean if you think about them, me not physically being in the Delta, but being the age that I am and considering the music that heard from my childhood on records, you know, that’s where my roots are.  I mean, the first records I was listening to were Louis Armstrong and I was attracted more to the guitars.  Eddy Lang and Lonnie Johnson and the great guitar duets they did together and Django Reinhardt, and then, of course, when I started exploring more in the blues genre, then of course, I found the classic people like Blind Lemon Jefferson  and Leadbelly, and it’s that identification as a listener that I really immersed myself in back then and it was the whole romance of America being so different from the English way of life that it was my romance with America, you know, and I grew up with it. john-mayall-1-jonathan-fineAnd I interpret the modern blues that I make with these early blues singers and players as my inspiration as the starting point if you will.  So, as I’m singing and playing, in my head these guys who are no longer with us but who left behind a great heritage.

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John Mayall was born November 29, 1933 in Macclesfield, England. His father was a guitarist and jazz aficionado, who influenced Mayall greatly. But it was the records of early American jazz and blues men who would push Mayall to teach himself guitar, harmonica, and organ. While on leave from his three years of service in Korea, he bought his first electric guitar, and as the story goes, the rest is history.
The self-taught young blues scholar went on to found The Bluesbreakers in 1963. The band that laid the foundation  for the great musicians who brought the blues to the masses. From Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones, to Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, to Eric Clapton, many of the greatest British blues guitarists earned their stars alongside Mayall.
John Mayall moved to the United States from Great Britain in the late 60s. He has recorded and produced numerous albums. Though he officially disbanded the Bluesbreakers in 2008 he continues to tour the world.