The Blues Brothers were 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, as lead vocalist Jake Blues, and harmonica player/vocalist Elwood Blues. The band was composed of well known musicians, and debuted as the musical guest on SNL on April 22, 1978.
That evening, Jake and Elwood opened the show performing “Hey Bartender” and later performed the Sam & Dave classic “Soul Man.” Later that year, they released their debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, and opened for The Grateful Dead at the closing of the Winterland Arena in San Francisco. Their fame reached even further heights in 1980 when they released their own comedy film The Blues Brothers.
On March 5, 1982, Belushi died of an accidental overdose. After his death, updated versions of the Blues Brothers have performed on SNL and for charitable and political causes.
On May 4, 2022, Aykroyd, accompanied by Jim Belushi as Brother Zee Blues, played The Paramount in Huntington. They were backed by Belushi’s Sacred Hearts Band that still features some of the original members. There was no story line, but rather a full blown, highly energetic concert. Several audience members were dress head-to-toe in full Blues Brothers attire including the black suit, black shoes, white shirt, sunglasses and fedora.
When the duo took the stage, the crowd absolutely erupted. They started the show with a rip roaring version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Shotgun Blues” followed by Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago.” Other songs included Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” and Floyd Dixon’s “Hey Bartender.” During Muddy Waters “I’m Ready”, Belushi ventured into the crowd high fiving audience members as well as dancing with some of the female members of the audience.
The main set closed with their signature song, Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man.” The Brothers traded off on the lead vocals and the band really brought the house down. After a very brief break, they all returned to the stage for a two song encore, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and “Money (That’s What I Want).” Belushi encouraged any of the women in the crowd that wanted to come up on stage and dance to do so, and many obliged. When it was over, the duo walked slowly off the stage waving to the crowd as the audience erupted once again.
Setlist: Soul Finger (The Bar-Kays cover) Shotgun Blues (Sonny Boy Williamson cover) Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson cover) Hard to Handle (Otis Redding cover) I’m Ready (Muddy Waters cover) Three Hundred Pounds of Joy (Howlin’ Wolf cover) Flip Flop and Fly (Big Joe Turner cover) 36-22-36 (Bobby Blue Band cover) Hey Bartender (Floyd Dixon cover) Rubber Biscuit (The Chips cover) Dig Myself a Hole (Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup cover) Land of 1000 Dances (Chris Kenner cover) Grits Ain’t Groceries (Little Milton cover) I Got Everything I Need (Downchild Blues Band cover) Altar of Love (Imperial Crown cover) Polk Salad Annie (Tony Joe White cover) Driving Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes cover) You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Women (Carole King cover) Just A fool, She Caught the Katyand Left Me a Mule to Ride (Taj Mahal cover) Soul Man (Sam & Dave cover) Chicken Shack (Jimmy Smith cover)
Encore: Everybody Needs Somebody to Love( Solomon Burke cover) Money(That’s What I Want) (Barrett Strong cover) Skybox Outro