[lang_fr]The Blues Brothers : Biographie[/lang_fr][lang_en]The Blues Brothers : Biography[/lang_en]

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The Blues Brothers est le nom d’un groupe de blues composé des comédiens Dan Aykroyd et John Belushi et de quelques-uns des plus grand musiciens de la soul music, ainsi que le titre du film dans lequel ils jouent.[/lang_fr]

[lang_en]The Blues Brothers are an American blues, rhythm and blues, and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd, respectively in character as lead vocalist « Joliet » Jake Blues and harpist/vocalist Elwood Blues, fronted the band, which was composed of well-known and respected musicians. The band made its debut as the musical guest on the April 22, 1978, episode of Saturday Night Live.[/lang_en]

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John Belushi (alias le chanteur Jake Blues) et Dan Aykroyd (alias le joueur d’harmonica Elwood Blues), tous les deux membres de l’équipe originale de l’émission de télévision Saturday Night Live de la chaîne NBC, créent The Blues Brothers et leurs identités alternatives au début de 1976 pour chauffer le public de SNL.Les Blues Brothers font leur première apparition live dans SNL, avec Belushi et Aykroyd portant leurs costumes d’abeilles, qu’ils portaient normalement pour le sketch « Killer Bees », jouant « I’m a King Bee » de Slim Harpo. Dans les semaines suivant cette apparition, The Blues Brothers deviennent un ajout populaire au show et commencent à apparaître de façon semi-regulière. L’aspect humoristique repose en partie sur l’image de deux hommes habillés de costumes noirs ayant l’air de tueurs à gages mafieux, qui soudain explosent en chansons et danses énergiques.Jake et Elwood sont appuyés par des gens de qualité, comme le guitariste Steve Cropper, le bassiste Donald « Duck » Dunn et Matt « Guitar » Murphy.

Les Blues Brothers enregistrent leur premier album, Briefcase Full of Blues, en 1978 lors de la première partie du comédien Steve Martin à Los Angeles. L’album devient disque de platine, incluant les titres « Soul Man » et « Rubber Biscuit » qui figurent tous les deux dans le Top 40.En 1980, le film The Blues Brothers, réalisé par John Landis, sort sur les écrans de cinéma, avec les apparitions d’Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Carrie Fisher, Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, John Candy, Joe Walsh, Pinetop Perkins, Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield et Paul Reubens. Le film se déroule à Chicago.Les Blues Brothers partent également en tournée cette même année pour promouvoir le film. Jake et Elwood sortent leur second album, Made in America, contenant les deux titres « Gimme Some Lovin’ » et « Who’s Making Love » qui figurent dans le Top 40.

Synopsis

Le film s’articule autour des deux personnages qui lui donnent son titre, les frères Blues, gangsters flegmatiques et sympathiques, reconnaissables à leurs Ray Ban, à leurs costumes et chapeaux noirs, à leurs montres et à la discordance de leur carrure respective. Ils se retrouvent lorsque « Joliet » Jake (incarcéré pour vol a main armée) est libéré de la « Prison Joliet » sous la responsabilité de son frère Elwood. Ils apprennent que l’orphelinat où ils ont été élevés va être rasé, à moins de payer les arriérés de taxes foncières dans les plus brefs délais. Ils ont 11 jours pour ramener l’argent à la mère supérieure, « la pingouine ». Les aventures commencent, et dès le début leur conduite insouciante (dans une vieille voiture de police Dodge Monaco 1974, affectueusement connue en tant que Bluesmobile), attire l’attention de la police.es Blues Brothers passent donc le reste du film à chercher les membres de leur groupe désormais dissout, pour les convaincre de les rejoindre à nouveau. Ils souhaitent remonter sur scène afin de récolter honnêtement la somme de 5 000 $ nécessaire à la survie de l’orphelinat. Leur trajet est ponctué de péripéties, où prennent place des numéros musicaux à la fois spontanés et organisés, hommages au Rhythm and blues noir américain.

Comédie musicale, le film truffé de scènes d’action, implique de talentueuses légendes qui reprennent des standards de la musique populaire américaine. Le duo se fait de nombreux ennemis, notamment un groupe néo-nazi, un brave tenancier, une fine équipe de chanteurs country racistes et visiblement pro-NRA, la police de Chicago, très vite secondée par celle de tout l’État de l’Illinois, auxquelles s’ajoutent les forces d’interventions spéciales, l’armée et jusque l’ancienne fiancée de Jake, rendue démente par son abandon et qui tente de l’assassiner de nombreuses manières… Il en résulte plusieurs courses poursuites en voiture et une énorme quantité d’accidents (plus de soixante véhicules de police sont détruits et treize Bluesmobiles sont nécessaires pour les scènes de carambolage, ce qui est à ce jour le record du plus grand nombre de véhicules détruits dans un film, parodiant la course poursuite du film French Connection) et de destructions diverses (dont une grande-surface désaffectée, reprenant du service à l’occasion du tournage).

Fiche technique

Titre : The Blues BrothersTitre original : The Blues BrothersRéalisation : John LandisScénario : John Landis et Dan AykroydProduction : Robert K. Weiss pour Universal PicturesPays d’origine : États-UnisFormat : Couleurs (Technicolor) – son : stéréo magnétique et mono optiqueGenre : comédie, film d’action, film musicalDurée : 133 minutes / 148 minutes (version longue)Date de sortie : 7 novembre 1980 (France)

Distribution

John Belushi : Joliet « Jake » BluesDan Aykroyd : Elwood BluesJames Brown : le réverend Cleophus JamesCab Calloway : CurtisRay Charles : RayAretha Franklin : Mme Murphy, la propriétaire du « Soul Food Café »Steve Cropper : Steve « The Colonel » CropperDonald Dunn : Donald « Duck » DunnMurphy Dunne : MurphWillie Hall : Willie « Too Big » HallTom Malone : Tom « Bones » MaloneLou Marini : « Blue Lou » MariniMatt Murphy : Matt « Guitar » MurphyAlan Rubin : Mr FabulousCarrie Fisher : la femme mystérieuseTwiggy : la femme à la jaguarSteven Spielberg : le receveur d’impôtsFrank Oz : le contrôleur judiciaireCharles Napier : Tucker McElroySteven Williams : Officier MountJohn Candy : Officier MercerChaka Khan : soliste du chœur gospel de l’églisePinetop Perkins : Luther Jackson, musicien de John Lee Hooker

Autour du film

Joliet et Elwood, les prénoms des frères Blues, sont également les noms de deux villes situées au sud-est de Chicago, dans l’Illinois.The Blues Brothers est souvent considéré comme l’une des meilleures adaptations cinématographiques de sketches de Saturday Night Live.

En 1981, The Best of the Blues Brothers fut disponible.Le 5 mars 1982, Belushi meurt à Hollywood d’une overdose de speedball, Belushi étant cocaïnomane .En 1988, Cropper, Dunn, Murphy et d’autres reformèrent le groupe The Blues Brothers pour une tournée mondiale.

Ils sortirent un nouvel album en 1992 intitulé Red White and Blues, avec comme invité Elwood Blues.Aykroyd lança sa franchise House of Blues, une chaîne internationale de clubs de blues. En tant qu’Elwood, il héberge la « House of Blues Radio Hour. »En 1998, Blues Brothers 2000 sortit sur les écrans, mais n’atteindra pas le succès du premier opus.

On y trouve John Goodman chantant avec Aykroyd et des apparitions caméras de Blues Traveler, B.B. King, Erykah Badu, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal, Lonnie Brooks, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Paul Shaffer, Koko Taylor, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Dr. John, Lou Rawls, Travis Tritt, Jimmie Vaughan, Wilson Pickett et de nombreux autres.

Discographie

1978 – Briefcase Full of Blues (Atlantic)
1980 – The Blues Brothers: Music from the Soundtrack (Atlantic)
1980 – Made in America (Atlantic)
1981 – Best of the Blues Brothers (Atlantic)
1988 – Everybody Needs the Blues Brothers
1990 – The Blues Brothers Band Live in Montreux (recorded on July 12, 1989 at the Montreux Casino with Eddie Floyd and Larry « T » Thurston, vocals
1992 – Red, White & Blues (Turnstyle)
1992 – The Definitive Collection (Atlantic/WEA)
1995 – The Very Best Of The Blues Brothers (Atlantic)
1997 – Blues Brothers & Friends: Live from House of Blues (A&M)
1998 – Blues Brothers 2000: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack1
998 – The Blues Brothers Complete (Atlantic)2003 – The Essential Blues Brothers (Warner Strategic)

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[lang_en]The band then began to take on a life beyond the confines of the television screen, releasing an album, Briefcase Full of Blues, in 1978, and then having a Hollywood film, The Blues Brothers, created around its characters in 1980.After the death of Belushi in 1982, the Blues Brothers have continued to perform with a rotation of guest singers and other band members. The original band reformed in 1988 for a world tour and again in 1998 for a sequel to the film, Blues Brothers 2000. They make regular appearances at musical festivals worldwide.

Band members

While not all members appeared in the original film, the full band included: »Joliet » Jake E. Blues – vocalsElwood J. Blues – harmonica, vocalsSteve « The Colonel » Cropper – lead and rhythm guitar (former Booker T & the M.G.’s)Donald « Duck » Dunn – bass guitar (former Booker T & the M.G.’s)Murphy Dunne – keyboards (brought in to act in the film due to Paul Shaffer’s commitment to perform with Gilda Radner in Gilda Live!)Willie « Too Big » Hall – drums, percussion (formerly of the Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes’ band, appears in the movie)Steve « Getdwa » Jordan – drums, percussion (Saturday Night Live Band, appears only on the albums)Tom « Bones » Malone – trombone, trumpet, saxophone (Saturday Night Live Band) »Blue » Lou Marini – saxophone (Saturday Night Live Band)Matt « Guitar » Murphy – lead and rhythm guitar (Howlin’ Wolf, other artists)Alan « Mr. Fabulous » Rubin – trumpet (Saturday Night Live Band)Paul « The Shiv » Shaffer – keyboards, arrangerTom « Triple Scale » Scott – saxophone (doesn’t appear in the movie, though his horn can still be heard on the soundtrack)

Band history

Origins

The genesis of the Blues Brothers was a January 17, 1976 Saturday Night Live skit. In it, « Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band » play the Slim Harpo song « I’m a King Bee, » with Belushi singing and Aykroyd playing harmonica, dressed in the bee costumes they wore for the « Killer Bees » sketch.Following tapings of SNL, it was popular among cast members and the weekly hosts to attend Aykroyd’s Holland Tunnel Blues bar, which he had rented not long after joining the cast mainly for the purpose of parking his Harley Davidson motorcycle.The bar cost less than a parking spot. Dan and John filled a jukebox with songs from many different artists such as Sam and Dave and punk band The Viletones. John bought an amplifier and they kept some musical instruments there for anyone who wanted to jam. It was here that Dan wrote a lot of the initial story draft of the Blues Brothers movie, better known as the « tome » because it contained so many pages.It was also at the bar that Aykroyd introduced Belushi to the blues. Even though Belushi was from Chicago he was not familiar with such music. An interest soon became a fascination and it wasn’t long before the two began singing with local blues bands. Jokingly, SNL band leader Howard Shore suggested they call themselves « The Blues Brothers.

« Belushi’s budding interest in the blues solidified in October 1977 when he was in Eugene, Oregon, filming National Lampoon’s Animal House. He went to a local hotel to hear 25-year-old blues singer/harmonica player Curtis Salgado. After the show, Belushi and Salgado talked about the blues for hours. Belushi found Salgado’s enthusiasm infectious. In an interview at the time with the Eugene Register-Guard he said:I was growing sick of rock and roll, it was starting to bore me…and I hated disco, so I needed some place to go. I hadn’t heard much blues before. It felt good.Salgado lent him some albums by Floyd Dixon, Charles Brown, Johnny « Guitar » Watson, and others. Belushi was hooked.Belushi began to appear with Salgado on stage, singing the Floyd Dixon song « Hey, Bartender » on a few occasions, and using Salgado’s humorous alternate lyrics to « I Don’t Know »:I said Woman, you going to walk a mile for a CamelOr are you going to make like Mr. Chesterfield and satisfy?She said that all depends on what you’re packingRegular or king-sizeThen she pulled out my Jim Beam, and to her surpriseIt was every bit as hard as my Canadian Club.These lyrics were used again for the band’s debut performance on SNL.

Band formation

With the help of pianist-arranger Paul Shaffer, Belushi and Aykroyd started assembling a collection of studio talents to form their own band. These included SNL band members, saxophonist « Blue » Lou Marini and trombonist-saxophonist Tom Malone, who had previously played in Blood, Sweat & Tears. At Shaffer’s suggestion guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald « Duck » Dunn, the powerhouse combo from Booker T and the M.G.’s and subsequently almost every hit out of Memphis’ Stax Records during the 1960s, were signed as well.Belushi wanted a powerful trumpet player and a hot blues guitarist, so Juilliard-trained trumpeter Alan Rubin was brought in, as was guitarist Matt Murphy, who had performed with many blues legends.For the brothers’ look, Belushi borrowed John Lee Hooker’s trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses and soul patch.Their style was fresh and in many ways, different from prevailing musical trends: A very raw and « live » sound compared to the increasing use of sound synthesis and vocal-dominated music of the late 1970s and 80s.

The sound

While the music of the Blues Brothers is based on R&B, blues, and soul, it also drew heavily on rock and jazz elements, usually taking a blues standard and bringing a rock sound and style to it. The band could be drawn into three sections: the four-man horn section, the traditional rock instruments of the five-man rhythm section, and the two singing brothers. The sound of the band was a synthesis of two different traditions: the horn players all came from the clean, precise, jazz-influenced sound of New York City; while the rhythm section came from the grittier soul and blues sound of Chicago and Memphis. The success of this meld was due both to Shaffer’s arrangements and to the musicians’ talents.In Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, a 1998 documentary included on some DVD editions of the first Blues Brothers film, Cropper noted that some of his peers thought that he and the other musicians backing the Blues Brothers were selling out to Hollywood or using a gimmick to make some quick money. Cropper responded by stating that he thought Belushi was as good as (or even better than) many of the singers he had backed; he also noted that Belushi had, early in his career, briefly been a professional drummer, and had an especially keen sense of rhythm.

Albums, early gigs, character backgrounds

The Blues Brothers recorded their first album, Briefcase Full of Blues, in 1978 while opening for comedian Steve Martin at Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre. The album was #1 on the Billboard 200 went double platinum, and featured Top 40 hit covers of Sam and Dave’s « Soul Man » and The Chips’ « Rubber Biscuit. »The album liner notes fleshed out the fictional back story of Jake and Elwood, having them growing up in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Rock Island, Illinois and learning the blues from a janitor named Curtis. Their blood brotherhood was sealed by cutting their middle fingers with a string said to come from the guitar of Elmore James.The band, along with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, opened for the Grateful Dead for the final show at Winterland, New Year’s Eve 1978.With the film, came the soundtrack album, which was the band’s first studio album. « Gimme Some Lovin' » was a Top 40 hit and the band toured to promote the film, which led to a third album (and second live album), Made in America, recorded at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1980. The track « Who’s Making Love » peaked at No 39. It was the last recording the band would make with Belushi’s Jake Blues.Belushi’s wife, Judith Jacklin, and his friend, Tino Insana, wrote a book, Blues Brothers: Private, that further fleshed out the Blues Brothers’ universe and gave a back story for the first movie.In 1981, Best of the Blues Brothers was released; this album would be the first of several compilations and hits collections issued over the years.

1982 and beyond

On March 5, 1982, John Belushi died in Hollywood of an accidental overdose of heroin and cocaine.After John Belushi’s death, updated versions of the Blues Brothers have performed on SNL and for charitable and political causes. Aykroyd has been accompanied by Jim Belushi and John Goodman in character as « Zee » Blues and « Mighty Mack » McTeer. The copyright owners have also authorized some copycat acts to perform under the Blues Brothers name; one such act performs regularly at the Universal Studios Florida theme park in Orlando, Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood.

In 1997, an animated sitcom with Jake and Elwood was planned, but scrapped after only eight episodes were produced.To promote Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi and John Goodman performed at the halftime of Super Bowl XXXI, along with ZZ Top and James Brown.

The performance was preceded with a faux news report stating the Blues Brothers had escaped custody and were on their way to the Louisiana Superdome. The raucous innuendo-laden performance was considered somewhat scandalous at the time.Aykroyd has continued to be an active proponent of blues music and parlayed this avocation into foundation and partial ownership of the House of Blues franchise, an international chain of nightclubs.John Belushi’s brother, James Belushi, toured with the band for a short time as « Zee Blues, » and recorded the album, Blues Brothers & Friends: Live from House of Blues, with Dan Aykroyd but he didn’t appear in Blues Brothers 2000. It’s rumored he was approached to play not the role of « Mighty Mack » (played by John Goodman), but the role of the local Sheriff « Cab » Chamberlain (which eventually went to Joe Morton).

Jim would later reunite with Aykroyd to record yet another album, not as the Blues Brothers but as themselves: Belushi/Aykroyd – Have Love Will Travel (Big Men-Big Music).In 2004, the musical, The Blues Brothers Revival, premiered in Chicago. The story was about Elwood trying to rescue Jake from an eternity in limbo/purgatory. The musical was written and composed with approval and permission from both the John Belushi estate (including his widow, Judith Belushi-Pisano) and Dan Aykroyd.The Blues Brothers featuring Elwood and Zee regularly perform at House of Blues venues and various casinos across North America. They are usually backed by James Belushi’s Sacred Hearts Band.The Blues Brothers Band tours the world regularly. The only original members still in the band are Steve Cropper, Lou Marini, and Alan Rubin.

The lead singer is Rob « The Honeydripper » Paparozzi, and they are frequently joined by Eddie Floyd.Akyroyd currently reprises his character, Elwood Blues, as the host of the weekly House of Blues Radio Hour, heard nationwide on the Dial Global Radio Network.

Films

The Blues Brothers

In 1980, The Blues Brothers, directed by John Landis, was released. Featuring epic car chases involving the Bluesmobile and musical performances by Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker, the story is set in and around Chicago, Illinois. It is a tale of redemption for the paroled convict Jake Blues and his brother Elwood as they decide to take on a « mission from God » and reform their blues band in order to raise funds to save the Roman Catholic orphanage where they grew up. Along the way, the brothers are targeted by a « mystery woman » (Carrie Fisher) and chased by the Illinois State Police, a country and western band called the ‘Good ol’ Boys’ and « Illinois Nazis. »

The film had a limited run when it was screened theatrically, but has since become popular through television, home video and late-night cinema screenings. It is the second-highest grossing film based on a « Saturday Night Live » sketch and sixth-highest grossing musical film.

Blues Brothers 2000

With Landis again directing, the sequel to The Blues Brothers was made in 1998. It fared considerably worse than its predecessor with fans and critics, though it is more ambitious in terms of musical performances by the band and has a more extensive roster of guest artists than the first film. The story picks up 18 years later with Elwood being released from prison. He is once again prevailed upon to save some orphans, and with a 10-year-old boy named Buster Blues (J. Evan Bonifant) in tow, Elwood again sets about the task of reuniting his band. He recruits some new singers, Mighty Mack (John Goodman) and Cab (Joe Morton), a policeman who was Curtis’ son.

All the original band members are found, as well as some performers from the first film, including Aretha Franklin and James Brown. There are dozens of other guest performers, including Eric Clapton, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore, Taj Mahal and Jonny Lang, Blues Traveler, as well as an all-star supergroup led by B.B. King called the Louisiana Gator Boys.

On the run from the police, Russian mafia and a racist militia, the band eventually ends up in Louisiana, where they enter a battle of the bands overseen by a voodoo practitioner named Queen Moussette (Erykah Badu). During a song by the Blues Brothers (a Caribbean number called « Funky Nassau »), a character played by Paul Shaffer asks to cut in on keyboards, which Murph allows. This marks the first time in a film that the Blues Brothers play with their original keyboardist.

Discography

1978 – Briefcase Full of Blues (Atlantic)
1980 – The Blues Brothers: Music from the Soundtrack (Atlantic)
1980 – Made in America (Atlantic)1981 – Best of the Blues Brothers (Atlantic)
1988 – Everybody Needs the Blues Brothers1990 – The Blues Brothers Band Live in Montreux (recorded on July 12, 1989 at the Montreux Casino with Eddie Floyd and Larry « T » Thurston, vocals
1992 – Red, White & Blues (Turnstyle)
1992 – The Definitive Collection (Atlantic/WEA)
1995 – The Very Best Of The Blues Brothers (Atlantic)
1997 – Blues Brothers & Friends: Live from House of Blues (A&M)
1998 – Blues Brothers 2000: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1998 – The Blues Brothers Complete (Atlantic)2003 – The Essential Blues Brothers (Warner Strategic)

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