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John Mayall


Continually expanding the reach of the blues without ever watering them down, John Mayall has had a major influence on rock music. He is the Godfather of British Blues.

John Mayall is the godfather of British blues. As a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader, Mayall was a pioneer of blues in England during the 1960s. Celebrated for the many iconic musicians he recruited for his band the Bluesbreakers – including guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor; bassists Jack Bruce and John McVie; and drummers Mick Fleetwood and Aynsley Dunbar – Mayall displayed a talent for mentoring gifted young musicians and bringing out the best in them. With a rugged individuality and distinctive voice and style, Mayall has continually experimented with and stretched the blues, exerting a major influence on rock music.


Born in Cheshire, England, Mayall developed an early love for American jazz and blues, teaching himself to play the piano, guitar, and harmonica. In the early 1960s, Mayall’s friend Alexis Korner convinced him to move to London, where he began putting together musicians to form the Bluesbreakers. When Clapton left the Yardbirds in 1965, Mayall quickly hired him, and the excitement and virtuosity of the Bluesbreakers’ live shows inspired the famous “Clapton Is God” graffiti on a wall in London. The band’s debut album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton soon became a best-selling classic and cemented Clapton’s reputation as a one of the greatest guitarists ever. After Clapton left the band to form Cream with bassist Bruce, Mayall recruited Green as his replacement, and when Green later left with McVie and Fleetwood to form the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, Mayall brought in Taylor, who remained in the Bluesbreakers for about a year before joining the Rolling Stones.


After relocating to Los Angeles in 1969, Mayall continued leading bands and releasing albums throughout the 1970s, becoming renowned for his jazz/rock/blues innovations. Since then, he has continued releasing dozens of albums and touring throughout the United States and Europe – always employing ace guitarists, from Walter Trout to Buddy Whittington to Carolyn Wonderland. Appointed an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2016, Mayall has recorded and collaborated with a diverse array of musicians, including Joe Walsh, Steve Van Zandt, Alex Lifeson, Billy Gibbons, Otis Rush, Billy Preston, and Marcus King. Throughout his career, Mayall has continued evolving, making visionary recordings that have expanded the reach of the blues without ever watering them down. Now in his nineties, John Mayall continues to inspire musicians and fans with a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable and influential music.

Selected Discography

“Hideaway,” “Ramblin’ on My Mind,” Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (1966) • A Hard Road (1967) • “Snowy Wood,” Crusade (1967) • Bare Wires (1968) • Blues from Laurel Canyon (1968) • “Room to Move,” The Turning Point (1969) • USA Union (1970) • Back to the Roots (1971) • Ten Years Are Gone (1973) • Wake Up Call (1993) • Stories (2002) • 70th Birthday Concert (2003) • In the Palace of the King (2007) • Tough (2009) • Nobody Told Me (2019) • The Sun Is Shining Down (2022)


Mary J. Blige