His role as producer of The Blues Brothers soundtrack left Bob Tischler in charge of recording some of the best musicians of the 20th century, while managing conflicting shooting schedules and coping with the day-to-day effects of John Belushi's prodigious cocaine habit.
A comedy, a musical, a buddy movie; The Blues Brothers is all of these things, while also providing audiences with the opportunity to see James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Steve Cropper and assorted other soul, blues and R&B legends not only perform, but also act opposite the likes of John Candy, Carrie Fisher and the two main stars, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. More than three decades after its release, it is regarded as a cult classic, while the soundtrack album captures some memorable performances. Among them are Aretha's dynamite rendition of 'Think', James Brown's equally dynamic 'The Old Landmark', Ray Charles's 'Shake A Tail Feather', Cab Calloway's 'Minnie The Moocher' and timeless covers of Taj Mahal's 'She Caught The Katy', the Spencer Davis Group's 'Gimme Some Lovin'' and Solomon Burke's 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love' by Messrs Belushi and Aykroyd alongside their own all-star band.
After they met in 1973, Ottawa-raised Aykroyd turned Chicago-raised, hard-rock-oriented Belushi onto R&B, soul and, more specifically, the blues music associated with Memphis and Belushi's native Windy City. Aykroyd was in love with the blues and, by the time he and Belushi joined the original cast of Saturday Night Live in 1975, the two men shared this obsession, jamming and listening to blues records at Aykroyd's Holland Tunnel Blues bar, where he also wrote the story that later would evolve into the Blues Brothers movie. In the meantime, it led to the pair developing their alter egos: the laid-back, harmonica-playing Elwood (Aykroyd) and in-your-face, singing ex-con 'Joliet' Jake (Belushi), attired in their black hep-cat suits and skinny ties along with John Lee Hooker-type fedora hats and wrap-around Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses — a couple of wide boys performing their music while routinely breaking the law.
"John Belushi was so good to me, not only in terms of my career, but also as a close friend,” says Bob Tischler, who produced and engineered all four Blues Brothers albums that were released prior to Belushi's death from an overdose in 1982. "Although he was a maniac to a lot of people, I have nothing but great memories of him.”
Starting out as an assistant engineer at the Floyd Peterson New York studio during the early 1970s, Tischler learned the ropes working on radio spots, TV ads and trailers for the major movie companies. Recording a radio spot for the Joe Cocker concert tour film, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, he hired then-unknown actor/writer/director/composer/musician Christopher Guest to provide one of the voices. The two subsequently became friends and began recording
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