The Blues Brothers, formally, variously The Blues Brothers’ Show Band and Revue and The Blues Brothers’ Rhythm and Blues Revue, are an American blues and rhythm and blues revivalist band founded in 1976 by comedy actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd, in character as lead vocalist “Joliet” Jake Blues (named after Joliet Prison) and harmonica player/backing vocalist Elwood Blues (named after the Elwood Ordnance Plant, which made TNT and grenades during World War II), fronted the band, which was composed of well-known and respected musicians. The Blues Brothers first appeared on Saturday Night Live on January 17, 1976. The band made its second appearance as the musical guest on the April 22, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live. They made their third and final appearance on November 18, 1978.
The band began to take on a life beyond television, releasing an album, Briefcase Full of Blues, in 1978, and then having a Hollywood film, The Blues Brothers, created around its characters in 1980.
Since the death of Belushi in 1982, the Blues Brothers have continued to perform with a rotating cast of guest singers and musicians. They reformed in 1988 for a world tour and in 1998 for a sequel film, Blues Brothers 2000. They make regular appearances at musical festivals worldwide.
On August 31, 2011, it was announced that Aykroyd and Belushi’s widow, Judith Belushi Pisano, were pitching a new Blues Brothers TV series to primetime networks.