Growing up in the 50s and 60s

British Blues Bands of the 1960's - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

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1960s British Blues - John Mayall

The father of British Blues who breeded musicians

I was lucky being born in 1948, in 1963 when it all started to 'happen' in this country, I was 15 and passing between childhood to young man (we did that later then!).

The British scene up til then had been mainly of American influence; the 50's saw Bill Haley and the Comets introducing us to Rock n Roll and this filtered through to form the more Brit Pop of Tommy Steele, Lonnie Donegan and onwards to Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and a few others (broken up a bit inbetween with the likes of Craig Douglas & co. who really only did cover versions anyway).

In the early 60's we also saw the introduction of Chubby Checkers 'Twist' and a few carry ons like thet.

Whilst this was going on, we were desperately still looking for our own brand music and this finally arrived with the Beatles who took over the World in a matter of a couple of years.

'Groups' became the in thing. In the Marquee Club in London and a few other clubs around the major cities, Groups were turning toward American Blues music and before long, came the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Animals and others. Everyone brought a guitar and learnt The House of the Rising Sun. You could walk into any Musical Intrument shop in Shaftesbury Avenue and see one wannabee playing the thing !


But there was one man who was taking the Blues to a new domain, John Mayall. Along with his 'Buesbreakers', he was playing Blues in a British manner and the bluesy geeks (like me) were formulating a like which would last forever.

I saw John Mayall quite often; at the Marquee and The Bromley Court Hotel. It wasn't Wembley Arena, but it was packed with people who wanted to hear blues with good guitar solos.
In the course of about 4 years, his lead guitarists were Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Jeff Beck, who as we all know, with exception of Peter Green, went on to fame and fortune (through sheer talent mind you).

In my early 20's I 'did the right thing' and got married, that bode me farewell to that part of my life and although I would play the music a lot, I wouldn't see John Mayall again until 2001.
He played at Tunbridge Wells along with Peter Green who has mainly recovered from his hard times. I spent almost the whole of the 3 hours in tears. The memories good, sometimes not so good, flooding through my mind.

But, that as they say is 'The Blues' and is understood and played maybe, by those who've 'been there' and had a few rough rides.

Last year, John Mayall celebrated his 70th birthday and played a concert in Liverpool along with Chris Barber, Eric Clapton and Chris Thompson.
This time he was 'big time and playing to a huge audience.

The amazing thing about it is, which I noticed at Tunbridge Wells, that about half the audience weren't born when those Artistes played together the last time.

I'm proud to say I saw 'The Cream', The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Zombies, Spencer Davis, Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac and many more - but there is nothing I'm proud of more than to say "I saw John Mayalls Bluesbreakers"

Long live the blues!



The Programme of the Concert I went to in Tunbridge Wells


Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year

From an art college training (he painted the album cover 'Hard Road' (above), to three years with the British Army in Korea, to a successful career in graphic design, his blues singing and playing took a back seat until he reached the age of 30. From 1956 until 1962, John was performing publicly on a part-time basis fronting The Powerhouse Four and, later on, The Blues Syndicate. It was then that Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated pioneered what was to become known as The British Blues Boom of the Late 60's