Personalities | John Mayall | Sixties | Rock
(Multi-instrumentalist, vocals, b. 1933)
When he was a Manchester art student in the late 1940s, blues record sessions evolved into successful attempts at reproducing the sounds himself, so much so that he dared a stage debut in a city club in 1950. In the decades that followed, Mayall carved a niche of true individuality in perhaps pop’s most stylized form, re-inventing it from all manner of new angles: duetting with Chicago bluesman Paul Butterfield on a 1967 British EP; with a big band on 1968’s Bare Wires album; and without a drummer for 1969’s near-acoustic The Turning Point. From the mid-1960s, his albums had been making inroads into the UK list, and his accompanying Bluesbreakers cradled many stars-in-waiting, among them guitar heroes Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Initially modest success in the States prompted an uprooting to California in 1968, and a preponderance of North American hirelings in the 1970s. He is still a reliable concert attraction and new albums remain worthwhile marketing exercises.
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