The Blues Brothers, on a Mission from God

Saturday Night Live cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were Elwood and Jake Blues. They first appeared on the show in giant bee costumes singing the blues oldie “King Bee” on 01/07/1976, but had worked up the act earlier using it to warm up the crowd before the live broadcast.

Subsequent performances on the show in their trademark black suits featured them cutting loose on a number of soul and R&B classics, and they cut the album “Briefcase full of blues” in 1978.

True soul/R&B fans may have snorted, but can’t accuse Belushi of not putting his heart and soul into his performances. Also the duo were backed up by a veritable who’s who of R&B session men: Murphy Dunne, Steve Cropper, Willie Hall, Tom Malone, Alan Rubin, Lou Marini, and Tom Scott.

They oponed for the comedian Steve Martin and even The Grateful Dead (12/31/78) befote launching their own concert tour in 1979.

Then they got a antier movie to themselves, the 1980 comedy “The Blues Brothers”.


The Blues Brothers is a 1980 comedy film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd featuring The Blues Brothers Band. Jake and Elwood Blues, two blues singers and petty criminals, must stage a concert to save the orphanage in which they grew up. Directed by John Landis. Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis. Much of the film was shot on location in and around Chicago between July and October 1979


They even find room to squeeze in soul queen Aretha Franklin, soul godfather James Brown, soul genius Ray Charles  and dumping ‘30s jivist Cab Calloway.

Jake: First you trade the Cadillac for a microphone, then you lie to me about the band, and now you’re gonna put me right back in the joint!

Elwood: They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God!

Mrs. Tarantino: Are you the police?

Elwood: No, ma’am. We’re musicians.

“She Caught the Katy” (Taj Mahal, Yank Rachell) – The Blues Brothers with lead vocals by Jake Blues

“Sweet Home Chicago” (Robert Johnson) – Dedicated to the musician Magic Sam

“Gimme Some Lovin'” (Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood, Spencer Davis) – The Blues Brothers with Jake Blues, lead vocals

The story is a tale of redemption for paroled convict Jake and his brother Elwood, who take on “a mission from God” to save from for eclosure the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up. To do so they must reunite their rhythm and blues band and organize a performance to earn $5,000 to pay the tax assessor. Along the way, they are targeted by a destructive “mystery woman,” Neo-Nazis, and a country and western band—all while being relentlessly pursued by the police.

“Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” (Jerry Wexler, Bert Berns, Solomon Burke) – The Blues Brothers (Jake Blues, lead vocals; Elwood Blues, harmonica and vocals)


John Belushi – ‘Joliet’ Jake Blues

Dan Aykroyd – Elwood Blues

The characters, Jake and Elwood Blues, were created by Belushi and Aykroyd in performances on Saturday Night Live. The name “The Blues Brothers” was the idea of Howard Shore. The fictional back story and character sketches of blood brothers Jake and Elwood were developed by Aykroyd in collaboration with Ron Gwynne, who is credited as a story consultant for the film. As related in the liner notes of the band’s debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, the brothers grew up in an orphanage, learned the blues from a janitor named Curtis and sealed their brotherhood by cutting their middle fingers with a steel string said to have come from the guitar of Elmore James.

James Brown – Reverend Cleophus James

Curtis, I don’t want to listen to no jive-ass preacher talking to me about Heaven and Hell.

“The Old Landmark” (Adeline M. Brunner) – James Brown and the Rev. James Cleveland Choir (additional choir vocals by Chaka Khan credited in the film) – 2:56

Cab Calloway – Curtis

“Minnie the Moocher” (Cab Calloway, Irving Mills) – Cab Calloway with the Blues Brothers Band

Ray Charles – Ray

“Shake a Tail Feather” (Otha Hayes, Andre Williams, Verlie Rice) – Ray Charles with the Blues Brothers (Jake and Elwood, backing vocals)

Aretha Franklin – Mrs. Murphy

“Think” (Teddy White, Aretha Franklin) – Aretha Franklin and the Blues Brothers with backing vocals by Brenda Corbett, Margaret Branch and Carolyn Franklin (real-life sister of Aretha) and Jake and Elwood –

Steve Cropper – Steve ‘The Colonel’ Cropper, Donald Dunn – Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Murphy Dunne – Murphy ‘Murph’ Dunne, Willie Hall – Willie ‘Too Big’ Hall, Tom Malone – Tom ‘Bones’ Malone, Lou Marini – ‘Blue Lou’ Marini, Matt Murphy – Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Alan Rubin – Alan ‘Mr. Fabulous’ Rubin, Carrie Fisher – Mystery Woman, Henry Gibson – Head Nazi, John Candy – Burton Mercer, Kathleen Freeman – Sister Mary Stigmata (a.k.a. The Penguin), Steve Lawrence – Maury Sline, Twiggy – Chic Lady, Frank Oz – Corrections Officer, Jeff Morris – Bob, Charles Napier – Tucker McElroy, Steven Spielberg – Cook County Assessor’s Office Clerk

Claire: [When asked what music is played at Bob’s Country Bunker] Oh we got both kinds. We got Country and Western.

“Just the Way You Are” – composed by Billy Joel; performed by uncredited group

Elwood: It’s a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it.

“I’m Walkin'” – performed by Fats Domino

“Your Cheatin’ Heart” – composed by Hank Williams; performed by Kitty Wells (heard when Jake and Elwood first enter Bob’s Country Bunker)

The “Palace Hotel Ballroom,” where the band performs its climactic concert, was at the time of filming a country club, but later became the South Shore Cultural Center, named after the Chicago neighborhood in which it is located. The interior concert scenes were filmed in the Hollywood Palladium

The Blues Brothers has been criticized for its simplistic plot and being overly reliant on car chases. Among the reviewers at the time of the film’s release who held that opinion was Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert praised it for its energetic musical numbers and said that the car chases were “incredible”.In his review for The Washington Post, Gary Arnold criticized Landis engorging “the frail plot of The Blues Brothers with car chases and crack-ups, filmed with such avid, humorless starkness on the streets of Chicago that comic sensations are virtually obliterated”. Time magazine’s Richard Corliss wrote, “The Blues Brothers is a demolition symphony that works with the cold efficiency of a Moog synthesizer gone sadistic”

“Jailhouse Rock” (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – Jake Blues and the Blues Brothers (Over the closing credits in the film, verses are sung by James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and “crew”)

“You’re from the isle of ghosts and, as you know, there are ghosts walking around all over the place over there. Loads of people have seen them, heard a voice or felt the cold temperature. I believe that they are between here and there, that they exist between the fourth and the fifth dimension and that they visit us frequently.” “I’m still haunted by Belushi” by Sean O’Hagan in The Observer (28 September 2003)

“Ride of the Valkyries” – composed by Richard Wagner; performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

John Adam Belushi (January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was an American comedian, actor, and musician. He is best known as one of the original cast members of the hit NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. He was the older brother of James “Jim” Belushi. He was known for his brash, energetic comedy style and raunchy humor. During his career he had a close personal and artistic partnership with fellow SNL comedian and author Dan Aykroy

Belushi died on March 5, 1982 in Hollywood, California after overdosing on a mixture of cocaine and heroin (a ‘speedball’) at the age of 33

The Grateful Dead performed the song “West L.A. Fadeaway” beginning in late 1982. The song, penned by long time lyricist Robert Hunter and sung by Jerry Garcia, contains fairly explicit references to Belushi’s death, especially the line “Looking for a chateau, twenty-one rooms, but one will do.”

The 1987 song “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L),” by the American thrash metal band Anthrax was dedicated to Belushi.


3 comentarios to “The Blues Brothers, on a Mission from God”

  1. Source: Childs: 2004

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