The Blues Brothers - John Landis (1980)

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A road movie, a modern musical, a prototype for many others movies, the film of John Landis is completely full of pure blues spirit, together with his derivatives genres rhythm & blues, rock and soul, including even a short and funny excursion into the country & western genre. The plot is a sort of pretext, it's quite a joke, as in the previous movie of Landis, Animal House, where the energy and the transgression of the great John Belushi were presented for the first time. A straight man for Belushi was necessary this time, and the choice made by John Landis would have been the best one possible. Dan Aykroad was at that time a young and versatile actor, but he added to the film his still unknown talent in dance and interpretation and his particular absolutely emotionless approach. Apart that, Dan Aykroyd was also co-author of the screenplay. The third ingredient was the look, an immediate recognition for the two "brothers", very simple and a little bit unusual on 1980: black suit, black tie, white shirt, black hat, Ray-Ban black eye-glasses, the Blues Brothers had arrived and they would never leave us.

Soundtrack / Cast and Characters / The Blues Brothers Band / Images from the film / Blues Brothers 2000 / Animal House

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Soundtrack


 

The main part of the soundtrack listing was performed by the original interpreters of the selected songs, involved in the movie as actors (and not as themselves, except John Lee Hooker). So we can listen for our pleasure the performances of Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, James Brown and, of course, those if the two Blues Brothers Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. he other ones are performed by the Blues Brothers Band, created for the movie, involving several session men, and that will continue the activity after the great success of it. In the following table all the song are listed and commented in relation with the scenes of the film.
(In the images: The Blues Brothers with Ray Charles, above, and with Aretha Franklin, on the left)

 

Song

Performer

Original Interpreter

Movie's Scene

SHE CAUGHT THE KATY

Taj Mahal

The The same one

The song during the main titles.

SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER

Elmore James

The same one

In background during the encounter with the orphanage's factotum Curtis (Cab Calloway).

SOOTHE ME

Sam and Dave

The same one

On the radio in the Blues Mobile during th first encounter of the Blues Brothers with teh Police (and consequently the first car pursuit).

HOLD ON I'M COMIN'

Sam and Dave

The same one

As above. The song is one of the best known R&B of the sixties.

THE OLD LANDMARK

James Brown

Traditional

James Brown as Reverend Cleophus James sings this traditional gospel in a way so exciting during his service that all the people in the church start to dance and to jump up to the ceiling. And Jakie Blues suddenly "sees the light".

LET GOOD TIMES ROLL

Louis Jordan

The same one

The disc that Elwood Blues puts on the turntable when he welcomes the brother Jakie in his "home" (actually, a room so close to the train that every passage it's an earthquake, and so small that it will be necessary for him to sleep on a chair). But the "mystery woman" Carrie Fisher will solve the problem the morning after ...

ANEMA E CORE

Elio Pinta

The same one

In background during the Italian interlude with Mrs Tarantino, the former guest house master of the piano player Matt Murphy.

QUANDO, QUANDO, QUANDO

Tony Renis

The same one

The song performed by Murphy Dunne in the Sheraton Longue Bar, together with his group Murph & The Magitones.

BOOM BOOM

John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker

On the Maxwell Street of Chicago, the blues-rock master is performing for the people passing.

THINK 

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

A mythical performance of Aretha Franklin herself, in slippers and apron, inside her cafeteria, the choirgirls are the waitresses and she says, singing to her husband: "You better think (think),
think about what you're tryin' to do to me ...
"

SHAKE YOUR TAILFEATHER 

Ray Charles 

Ray Charles with The Blues Brothers Band

The song used by the music instruments shopkeeper Ray (Cahrles) to test his instruments.

BOOGIE CHILLUN

John Lee Hooker

The same one

During the travel towards the country & western restaurant and ballroom.

YOUR CHEATIN' HEART

Kitty Wells

The same one

The country & western song in the ballroom when the Blues Brothers Band arrives.

GIMME SOME LOVIN' 

Blues Brothers Band

Spencer Davis Group

"What kind of music do you usually have here?" "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western." Elwood tries anyway to start with the Blues Band repertory. After a short while the band realize why there is a iron net between them and the public. The song is a classic R&B written by a very young Steve Winwood for his first band.

MAIN THEME FROM 'RAWHIDE' 

Blues Brothers

TV Series of the 50s and 60s

Do you want country & western? Here it is. The main theme from the famous TV serial is the right answer and gathers a great success between the urban cowboys.

STAND BY YOUR MAN 

Blues Brothers

Tammy Wynette

And soon after another romantic C&W song, everyone in the restaurant, even the stronger cowboys, have now tears in their eyes.

I'M WALKING

Ray Charles

Fats Domino

A classical R&B song by Fats Domino performed by Ray Charles can be listen during the fund gathering for the orphanage, with all the children involved in it.

MINNIE MOOCHER

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway

The Blues Brothers Jakie and Elwood are late, nazis, police and the mystery woman are chasing them, the crowd want the show start, a difficult situation. But Curtis, the original and unique Cab Calloway is there and he can try to entertain them with an old song, but what song: it's the original Minnie Moocher, and soon after everyone is singing with him, and even the scene seems to be the same as in the years of the swing.

CAN'T TURN YOU LOOSE

Blues Brothers Band

Otis Redding

At least Jakie and Elwood have arrived and Curtis can present them, in the background this R&B by Otis Redding.

EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY TO LOVE 

Blues Brothers

Wilson Pickett

Probably the best moment and the most remembered, the Blues Brothers Band with Elwood and Jakie on vocals is starting is show, with a perfect R&B song of Wilson Pickett. Memorable the synchronized dance of the two "brothers" and the incredible jumps of John Belushi.

SWEET HOME CHICAGO 

Blues Brothers

Freddy King

The second song in the mythical show is, of course, a cornerstone of the blues-rock genre, mainly known in the Muddy Waters version.

JAILHOUSE ROCK 

Blues Brothers Band, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and the Band

Elvis Presley

The final show is in jail, after the inevitable capture (they were actually chased by all the US police forces, plus the army and the special forces, apart the nazis) where all the Band is again reunited, and can perform, of course, a very appropriate "jailhouse rock". The song is also sung by the other people of the cast during the credits.

   

Cast and Characters

 

In the cast many musicians, sometimes as themselves (as John Lee Hooker) and usually as characters (apart those mentioned, also Chaka Khan) and also John Landis friends (as the composer Steven Bishop, already author of Animal House soundtrack) and people of cinema, as Steven Spielberg or Frank Oz, Carrie Fisher directly from Star Wars, the fashion model Twiggy, and even John Landis himself, as Hitchcock or Truffaut were used to do in their films.

 

Character

Interpreter

Jakie Joliet Blues   

John Belushi

Elwood Blues

Dan Aykroyd

Sister Mary Stigmata (aka The Penguin)

Kathleen Freeman

Curtis   

Cab Calloway

Mrs. Tarantino

Toni Fleming

Reverend Cleophus James   

James Brown

Church choir soloist   

Chaka Khan

Choir   

James Cleveland's Southern California Community Choir

Charming Trooper   

Stephen Bishop

La Fong Trooper   

John Landis

Mystery woman (former Jakie Blues fiancé)  

Carrie Fisher 

Burton Mercer   

John Candy

Head Nazi

Henry Gibson

Musician in Maxwell Street (Chicago)   

John Lee Hooker / Walter Horton / "Pinetop" Perkins / Willie "Big Eyes" Smith / Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson / Calvin "Fuzz" Jones

Mrs. Murphy (Soul Food Café owner)

Aretha Franklin

Ray (musical instruments shopkeeper)   

Ray Charles

bob (Country & western restaurant owner)

Jeff Morris

Chic Lady   

Twiggy

Cook County Assessor's Office Clerk  

Steven Spielberg

Correction officer

Frank Oz

Prisoner   

Joe Walsh

 
Cab Calloway Kathleen Freeman James Brown Carrie Fisher
   

The Blues Brothers Band

     

Donald "Duck" Dunn

bass

Murphy Dunne

piano

Willie Hall

drums

Tom Malone

trombone

Alan Rubin

trumpet

"Blue" Lou Marini

sax

Matt "Guitar" Murphy

guitar

Steve Cropper 

guitar
      

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 © Alberto Truffi  - Music-Graffiti 2001 - 2010

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