The Blues Brothers are an American 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 fronted the band, in character, respectively, as lead vocalist ‘Joliet’ Jake Blues and harmonica player/vocalist Elwood Blues. The band was composed of well-known musicians, and debuted as the musical guest in a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live, opening the show performing “Hey Bartender”, and later “Soul Man”.
The immediate popularity of the sketch transformed the Blues Brothers into a real-world act. In 1978, the band released their debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, and opened for the Grateful Dead at the closing of Winterland Arena in San Francisco. They gained further notoriety after spawning a Hollywood comedy film in 1980, The Blues Brothers.
After Belushi’s death in 1982, the Blues Brothers continued to perform with a rotation of guest singers and other band members. The band reformed in 1988 for a world tour and again in 1998 for a sequel film, Blues Brothers 2000.
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