Blues Brothers 2000: About The Special Musical Guests

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The Louisiana Gator Boys Members are: Jeff Baxter (guitar), Gary U.S. Bonds (vocals), Eric Clapton (guitar), Clarence Clemons (sax), Jacques de Johnette (drums), Bo Diddley (guitar), Jon Faddis (trumpet), Isaac Hayes (vocals), Dr. John (piano), B.B. King (guitar), Tommy McDonnell (vocals), Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica), Billy Preston (organ), Lou Rawls (vocals), Joshua Redman (sax), Koko Taylor (vocals), Travis Tritt (guitar), Jimmie Vaughan (guitar), Willie Weeks (bass), Steve Winwood (Hammond organ) and Grover Washington Jr. (sax).

The undisputed "Queen of Soul," ARETHA FRANKLIN (Mrs. Murphy) is truly one of the living legends of the entertainment business. The first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she has been honored with countless other citations, awards and accolades throughout her stellar career, including a Kennedy Center Honor, 15 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award in 1991 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.

Franklin was born in Memphis and moved at an early age to Detroit, where her musical talents were nurtured in the church choirs of her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin. Since beginning her secular recording career in the early 1960s, she has enjoyed a string of #1 R&B and pop hits, many of which have become classics, including "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "Think," "Since You've Been Gone," "Rock Steady," "Angel," "Until You Come Back To Me," "You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)," "Day Dreaming," "Hold On I'm Comin'," "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)," "Freeway of Love," "Who's Zoomin' Who," and "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves," among others. Franklin currently records on the Arista Records label with a new CD release A Rose Is Just A Rose, due March 16, 1998.

With a prolific career that has dominated the R&B and popular music charts for over four decades, JAMES BROWN (Reverend Cleophus James) is "The Godfather of Soul." A two-time Grammy Award winner and charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Brown's hits include "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "Living in America."

Born into abject poverty in Barnwell, South Carolina, Brown's rise to fame made him a spokesperson for black people and a symbol of hope for underprivileged people everywhere. A singer whose style evolved but never strayed from its roots in gospel and soul, Brown has achieved a wide international following among fans of all races and cultures. Beginning with his release of "Please Please Please" in 1956, almost every James Brown single has been a hit - with over 80 R&B top 20 entries including more than 23 #1 hits and more than 200 million records sold.

In 1992, Brown was honored by the American Music Awards as the recipient of their Award of Merit and by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Renowned throughout the world as the "King of the Blues," B.B. KING (Malvern Gasperon) has, since he started recording in the late 1940s, released over 50 albums, many of them - such as the definitive live blues album Live At The Regal and a collaboration with Bobby "Blue" Bland, "Together For The First Time" - are considered blues classics. He has had two #1 R&B hits: "Three O'Clock Blues" and "You Don't Know Me," and four #2 R&B hits: "Please Love Me," "You Upset Me Baby," "Sweet Sixteen, Part I" and "Don't Answer The Door, Part I." King's most popular crossover hit, "The Thrill Is Gone" went to #15 on the pop charts and his classic songs such as "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss," "Caldonia," "How Blue Can You Get," "Everyday I Have The Blues" and "Why I Sing The Blues" are concert (and fan) staples.

With one of the world's most readily identified guitar styles, King's model of playing has influenced thousands of musicians including Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Jeff Beck. Over the years, he has been honored by his peers with seven Grammy Awards and in 1987 was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. An inductee into both the Blues Foundation and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, King's innumerable other awards and citations include the Songwriter's Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award and the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gibson Guitar Company. In 1990, King received the prestigious Presidential Medal of the Arts and the following year received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. In 1995, King received the Kennedy Center Honors.

ERYKAH BADU's (Queen Mousette) voice is capable of stirring the deepest emotions. Setting small fires, if you will. Her innovative, ancestral-inspired debut album Baduizm hit Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart at #2, while maintaining the #1 position on the R&B chart four weeks in a row. Incredibly, the album went platinum in less than one month of its release. With the exception of "4 Leaf Clover," all songs on Baduizm are original compositions penned by Badu.

Additionally, the intoxicating #1 hit single, "On & On" - the first single release from Baduizm - reached gold status. In addition to writing the treatment, she co-directed "On & On" with video director Paul Hunter and, along with Troy Montgomery-Smith, directed her latest video, "Next Lifetime" which features cameos by Pete Rock, The We Tang's Method Man, Dre from Outkast and Nefertiti.

Kedar Massenburg, President of Kedar Entertainment and D'Angelo's former manager, first heard Badu when she opened for D'Alngelo in her hometown of Dallas. Her unique voice, liquid eyes and lithe movements so impressed Massenburg that she became the first artist signed to his newly-formed label Kedar Entertainment (a joint venture with Universal Records).

PAUL SHAFFER (Marco/Music) has been David Letterman's musical director and sidekick for the past sixteen years.

After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree on sociology and philosophy, he landed the musical director's job with the Toronto production of Godspell, a move which led him to Broadway and playing piano for The Magic Show.

In 1975, Shaffer was hired for the original band of Saturday Night Live (SNL) and, through 1980, he played keyboards, was a featured performer and composed most of SNL's musical material. It was during his tenure at SNL that he met Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, serving as their musical director and playing with The Blues Brothers for two albums and their national tour.

In addition to his own albums, Coast to Coast (1989), two cuts from which were nominated for Grammy's and 1993s The World's Most Dangerous Party, he has recorded with such diverse artists as Diana Ross, Yoko Ono and Robert Plant's Honeydrippers. He composed the Late Show theme and, with Paul Jabara, wrote the Weather Girl's top-40 disco dance hit "It's Raining Men." Shaffer's movie credits include Gilda Live (the movie version of Gilda Radner's Broadway show in which he appeared and collaborated on songs), This Is Spinal Tap, Scrooged, Look Who's Talking Too and was most recently heard as the voice of "Hermes" in the animated Disney feature Hercules.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics, he was musical director of the concert finale at the closing ceremonies and, in 1997, he was seen as part of The Blues Brothers Bash which comprised the Super Bowl XXXI half-time show. Additionally, as he has done since its inception 12 years ago, Shaffer will once again serve as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Actress and recording artist NIA PEEPLES (Lt. Elizondo) makes her "major" motion picture debut in Blues Brothers 2000. Her indie film credits include the surf cult classic North Shore and the critically acclaimed romantic comedy, I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore.

Best known to audiences for her roles as Nicole on the Emmy Award-winning series Fame and as the illegitimate daughter of Robert Duvall in the miniseries Return To Lonesome Dove, Peeples has also appeared in a host of other network series including Courthouse, Crisis Center, Top of the Pops and MOW's such as Robin Cook's Terminal, Deadlocked and most recently, Tower of Terror, opposite Steve Guttenberg.

Peeples has had two Billboard Top 10 pop hits and a #1 dance hit and has also had her music featured in various films and TV shows including License To Kill, The Cutting Edge, Melrose Place and One Life To Live.

Peeples resides in Los Angeles and Vancouver where she spends her off-time writing both music and screenplays, studying at Playhouse West, or riding the zip-line in her backyard with her son, Christopher.

With a career spanning almost 45 years, STEVE LAWRENCE (Maury Sline) reprises his role from The Blues Brothers. Married to his performing partner, Eydie Gorme, for 39 years, the two have won Emmy and Grammy Awards and recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Lawrence is the recipient of a New York Drama Critics Award for his Broadway debut in What Makes Sammy Run. His numerous film and television appearances include the motion picture The Lonely Guy with Steve Martin and he has the distinction of being the 2nd most frequent guest star on the hugely popular television show, The Carol Burnett Show.

Legendary soul singer WILSON PICKETT's (Mr. Pickett) slew of top-charted hits includes such songs as "In The Midnight Hour," "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)," "Land of 1,000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," "Engine Number 9," "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You," and "Funky Broadway."

Born in Prattville, Alabama, Pickett moved with his family to Detroit where he was weaned on gospel music before joining the Falcons vocal group (the soul hit "She's So Fine") in 1960. His solo career was launched later with "My Heart Belongs To You" on the Correc-Tone label. Brief tenures on other small labels followed including a hit with "If You Need Me" on the Double-L label, before Pickett went on to the Atlantic label and released "Midnight Hour." Pickett was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is known throughout the world as the elusive icon in the hit film The Commitments.

One of the freshest new voices to sing the blues, 16-year-old JONNY LANG (Ed's Love Exchange Janitor) recently released his major label debut "Lie To Me" to immense critical and audience acclaim. A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Lang's interest in the blues took off when he attended his first real concert and saw the Bad Medicine Blues Band perform. Inspired by the band's lead guitarist, Ted Larson, he began taking lessons from him and before long was the frontman for the band. The band was renamed Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang and their independently released album, Smokin', became a regional smash. Lang has toured as the opening act for B.B. King, Aerosmith, Blues Traveler and The Rolling Stones and has been invited up on stage to jam with such artists as Luther Allison, Lonnie Brooks, Kenny Neal, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Syl Johnson and Buddy Guy.

One of Stax's most distinctive singers and songwriters, EDDIE FLOYD (Ed) originated such hits as "Knock On Wood," "Big Bird," and "Never Found A Girl," and co-wrote the classics "634-5789" (with Steve Cropper) and "Ninety Nine and a Half (Won't Do) (with Cropper and Pickett), made into hits by Wilson Pickett. He also wrote hits for: Rufus Thomas' "Do the Breakdown," Otis Redding's "Don't Mess With Cupid" and Bruce Springsteen's "Raise Your Hand." Floyd often performs on tour as a special guest vocalist with The Blues Brothers Band.

Grammy Award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer SAM MOORE (Reverend Morris) is best known as the dominate lead voice of the legendary soul duo Sam & Dave, whose rapid-fire style sent several songs, including "Hold On, I'm Coming," "I Thank You," "When Something is Wrong With My Baby," "Soul Sister Brown Sugar," "Wrap It Up" and "Soul Man," climbing up both the pop and R&B charts.

More recently, artists from all genres of music, including Phil Collins, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, David Sanborn, Travis Tritt, Annie Lennox, Pink Floyd and Tom Jones have all gotten the opportunity to perform or record with Moore. In 1993, a collaboration with Conway Twitty, "Rainy Night In Georgia," rode high on both the country and pop charts and earned numerous award nominations. Moore, dubbed "Super Voice" by Dan Aykroyd, occasionally joins The Blues Brothers on stage and at special events.

TAJ MAHAL (Driver) has recorded 36 albums - six of them Grammy-nominated - over the course of his storied career. A self-taught musician who plays over 20 instruments including the National Steel and Dobro guitars, his music has been described as "a well-seasoned gumbo, spiced with influences that originate in the Caribbean, West Africa, the southern states and the inner-cities of America."

Born in Harlem, Taj Mahal grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. During 1961-63, he had an R&B band called Taj Mahal and the Elektras and performed in Boston coffeehouses and college mixers. After earning his degree in animal husbandry from the University of Massachusetts in 1964, he emerged professionally the following year as co-founder of The Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. This led to a recording contract for Taj, who quickly rose to prominence with his first solo albums, "Taj Mahal" (1968), "The Natch'l Blues" (1968) and "Giant Steps" (1969). Over the years, he has toured, recorded and/or performed with such artists as Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Bob Marley, the Neville Brothers and the Rolling Stones.

BLUES TRAVELER (John Popper, Brendan Hill, Chan Kinchla and Bob Sheehan) burst onto the scene in 1989 with their self-titled debut album for A&M. Since then, the band has toured tirelessly and built a solid following on the road. Initially, without much support from the radio community or other conventional record selling vehicles, Blues Traveler emerged as a word of mouth phenomenon due to the simple fact that fans connected to the band's mood and music. In fact, touring has become somewhat essential to the success and cult of Blues Traveler, who average over 250 live shows per year. By 1992, the word was out and lead singer John Popper started the H.O.R.D.E. Festival. By 1996, the tour had become the 4th largest grossing tour in America and Blues Traveler went on to sell over six million copies of their fourth album. The band is currently one of North America's more popular touring acts and has breathed a fresh air of boogie and groove into modern blues. They recently released their sixth album for A&M, Straight On Till Morning, which has been certified gold by the RIAA and is quickly approaching platinum.

JUNIOR WELLS (as himself) is considered to be one of the finest harp players in the history of the blues. His 1966 debut album Hoodoo Man Blues is ranked by collectors as one of the finest blues records ever. That same year, Junior teamed up with Buddy Guy and began touring the world, becoming well known as the most famous team in blues. During this period, they opened for acts such as The Rolling Stones and headlined the Montreaux Jazz Festival, opening-up new audiences to the blues.

Wells is an intense singer, blues harp genius and a consummate showman. He has influenced every harp player to follow him. With his ever present hat and slick style of dress, he is truly one of the reigning legends of blues today.

Guitarist/vocalist LONNIE BROOKS (as himself) has, since his early days backing zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier, become one of the foremost bluesman in North America. He has toured with such artists as Sam Cooke, Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells and Eric Johnson, as well as with his own band. He has recorded a number of albums for Alligator Records, including the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival Grand Prix du Disque Award winner, Bayou Lightning.

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