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For Rock Hall’s Consideration: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

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Like so many 1960’s rock stars like the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was hugely influenced in the blues. And while not as successful (or even as well known), they are seen as musical pioneers, especially when it comes to white musicians to build upon blues traditions, and for the rise of jazz fusion.

Singer and harmonica player Butterfield formed the band in 1963, and among the key members included guitarists Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. They released their self-titled debut album in 1965, and though only peaking as high as number 123, it was considered a landmark, setting the stage for the blues movement throughout rock music in the 1960s. By the time they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, they had released two more albums East West (1966) and the Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw (1967), both of which were more successful, and were credited for their interpretations of not only blues but also jazz.

After two more albums, the band broke up in 1971, and Butterfield would go to form the group Paul Butterfield Better Days for two albums, then went solo. Sadly in the 1980s, the band was hit with the passings of two key members; Mike Bloomfield in 1981 and Paul Butterfield in 1987.

Despite being out of the mainstream, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band were considered an influence for countless bands including Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cream and Electric Flag (the latter formed by Bloomfield). Their first albums were remastered in 2001, and they were one of the few rockers inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also came calling twice, with nominations in 2012 and 2013.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, eligible since 1990.

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