John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers are a pioneering English blues band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE, that has included such luminaries as:
Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (both later in Cream),
Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (later all in Fleetwood Mac),
Mick Taylor (later in The Rolling Stones),
Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Harvey Mandel, Randy Resnick, Walter Trout, Larry Taylor (later in Canned Heat),
Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (Free), Chris Mercer, Henry Lowther, Johnny Almond and Jon Mark (later of Mark-Almond).
The Bluesbreakers were formed in January 1963 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.
The group lost their record contract with Decca that year, which also saw the release of a single called "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (produced by Jimmy Page), followed by a return to Decca in 1966. The album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, also known as The Beano Album, was released later that year; it reached the Top Ten in the UK.
Clapton 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-guitarist departed 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, Eric Clapton was reunited with the band for John Mayall's 70th Birthday Concert in Liverpool — the concert was later released on CD and DVD. 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.