The Blues Brothers

I spent some time yesterday watching part of Saturday Night Live’s fourth season, which was, I think, the last year with the original cast. It aired during the 1978-79 television season. What’s great is going back and seeing so much stuff and so many characters that have become part of pop culture: John Belushi’s samurai; Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin as the swinging Czech brothers; and Garrett Morris’ Chico Escuela, just to name a couple.

One absolute classic that appeared that season was the Blues Brothers. They opened the Nov. 18, 1978, show with a manic version of “Soul Man.” I couldn’t help but smile at Danny Aykroyd’s spastic dancing and Belushi’s cartwheels as I watched this yesterday.

I vaguely remember seeing this when it originally aired and I remember not being sure if it were real or shtick. No doubt there’s plenty of shtick behind the act, but there’s also some real love of the blues, especially on Aykroyd’s part. Enjoy some delicious copy-pasta from the Blues Brothers’ Wiki:
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.... It was here that Dan and Ron Gwynne wrote and developed the original story that Dan turned into the initial story draft of the Blues Brothers movie.... It was also at the bar that Aykroyd introduced Belushi to the blues. An interest soon became a fascination and it wasn't long before the two began singing with local blues bands.
The article goes on to talk about Aykroyd growing up in Canada and attending blues shows at Ottawa's Le Hibou Coffee House and other influences on him personally and on the Blues Brothers act.

After John Belushi’s 1982 death, Aykroyd would occasionally join up with John’s little brother James and/or John Goodman to perform as the Blues Brothers, but, in my opinion, that original spark was gone. It’s also been diluted through various tribute acts and bad movie sequels.

You know, so much of the music we hear these days is pre-programmed electronic disco we never get a chance to hear master bluesmen practicing their craft anymore. By the year 2006, the music known today as the blues will exist only in the classical records department of your local public library.” ~ Elwood Blues, from the opening of Briefcase Full of Blues

Soul Man.mp3
(I Got Everything I Need) Almost.mp3

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