John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album cover

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers was a pioneering British blues band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE, that included such luminaries as:

  1. Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (both later in Cream),
  2. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (later all in Fleetwood Mac),
  3. Mick Taylor (later in The Rolling Stones),
  4. Don Harris, Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor (Canned Heat), Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (Free), Johnny Almond and Jon Mark.


The Bluesbreakers were formed in the early 1960s with an ever-evolving lineup. Eric Clapton joined in 1965 just a few months after the release of their first album. Clapton brought the blues influences to the forefront of the group, as he had left The Yardbirds in order to play the blues (record; John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, a.k.a. The Beano Album).

The group lost their record contract with Decca that year, which also saw the release of a single called "I'm Your Witchdoctor", followed by a return to Decca in 1966. Bluesbreakers, a full length album, was released later that year; it reached the Top Ten in the UK.

John Mayall and Paul Butterfield, 1967Clapton and Jack Bruce left the group that year to form Cream. Clapton was replaced by Peter Green for A Hard Road, after which he left to form Fleetwood Mac. Finally, in 1969, the third Bluesbreaker-guitar virtuoso left the group that made him famous when Mick Taylor joined the Rolling Stones. He would soon be replaced by blues guitarist Kal David.

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

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, John Mayall celebrated at his 70th Birthday Concert. In 2004, their line up included Buddy Whittington, Joe Yuele, Hank Van Sickle and Tom Canning, and the band toured the UK with Mick Taylor as a guest musician.

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