Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton

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Blues Breakers
Left to right: John Mayall, Eric Clapton, John McVie and Hughie Flint
Album cover with band members.
L-R John Mayall, Eric Clapton, John McVie and Hughie Flint
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 22, 1966
RecordedMay 1966
StudioDecca, London[1]
ProducerMike Vernon
John Mayall chronology
John Mayall Plays John Mayall
Blues Breakers
A Hard Road

Blues Breakers, colloquially known as The Beano Album, is the debut studio album by the English blues rock band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, originally credited to John Mayall with Eric Clapton. Produced by Mike Vernon and released in 1966 by Decca Records (UK) and London Records (US), it pioneered a guitar-dominated blues-rock sound.

The album was commercially successful and most critics viewed it positively. In 2003 and 2012, Rolling Stone ranked it number 195 on its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". It was voted number 391 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).


After the release of Mayall's first album, the live John Mayall Plays John Mayall, Eric Clapton joined the group as the lead guitarist. Mayall originally intended for his second album to be also a live one in order to capture the guitar solos performed by Clapton. A set was recorded at the Flamingo Club, with Jack Bruce (with whom Clapton would subsequently work in Cream) on bass. The recordings, however, were of bad quality and were not used,[4] although one song, "Stormy Monday" was included on Mayall's retrospective Looking Back (1969).


With the original plan of a live album now discarded, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers recorded Blues Breakers at Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London in May 1966.[5] The guitar that Eric Clapton used during these sessions was a sunburst 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard with two PAF humbucking pickups. This guitar was stolen in 1966; its whereabouts remain unknown.[6] However, blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa claims to have been told the guitar is in a private collection in the eastern United States. Bonamassa also asserts that the guitar is a 1959 rather than 1960 model.[7] The guitar became known as the "Blues Breaker" or "Beano" Les Paul and a replica was issued by Gibson in 2012.[6] Critics consider Clapton's guitar tone and playing on this album to be influential in the artistic and commercial development of rock-styled guitar playing.[8]

The band on this album includes Mayall on piano, Hammond organ, harmonica, and most vocals; bassist John McVie; drummer Hughie Flint; and Clapton.[9] Augmenting the band on this album was a horn section added during post-production, with Alan Skidmore, Johnny Almond, and Derek Healey.[9]

Musical style[edit]

The album consists of blues standards by well-known artists, such as Otis Rush, Freddie King and Robert Johnson, as well as a few originals penned by Mayall and Clapton. Most tracks serve as a showcase for Clapton's playing. Although he provided some co- and backing vocals with his former group, the Yardbirds, "Ramblin' on My Mind" is Clapton's first solo lead vocal to be recorded.[1]


The album is often called The Beano Album by fans because of its cover photograph showing Eric Clapton reading The Beano,[10] a British children's comic.[11] Clapton stated in his autobiography that he was reading The Beano on the cover because he felt like being "uncooperative" during the photo shoot.[1] David Wedgbury took the photograph near the Old Kent Road.


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Virgin Encyclopedia of the Blues[13]
BBC(Highly Positive)[14]
Chicago Tribune[15]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[16]
The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings[17]

It was voted number 391 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[18] In 2003 the album was ranked number 195 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,[19] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[20]

Robert Dimery included the album in his book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[21] Apart from being one of the most influential blues albums, it also started the now-iconic combination of a Gibson Les Paul guitar through an overdriven Marshall Bluesbreaker amplifier.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Original album[edit]

Details taken from the original London Records (US) LP record album[9] (the Decca (UK) album does not list running times); other releases may show different information.

Side one
1."All Your Love"Otis Rush3:33
2."Hideaway" (instrumental)Freddie King, Sonny Thompson3:15
3."Little Girl"Mayall2:35
4."Another Man"Mayall1:45
5."Double Crossing Time"Eric Clapton, Mayall3:02
6."What'd I Say"Ray Charles4:25
Side two
1."Key to Love"Mayall2:06
2."Parchman Farm"Mose Allison2:20
3."Have You Heard"Mayall5:55
4."Ramblin' On My Mind" (Clapton on vocals)Robert Johnson3:07
5."Steppin' Out" (instrumental)L.C. Fraiser a.k.a. Memphis Slim2:30
6."It Ain't Right"Walter Jacobs a.k.a. Little Walter2:40

1998 remastered European reissue on the Deram label[edit]

Includes all tracks in both mono and stereo: 1–12 as above in mono, 13–24 as 1–12 above in stereo. Also issued by Universal Japan, on the Decca label, in 2001.

2001 American reissue on the Deram label[edit]

Also includes two bonus tracks from a 1966 UK single on Purdah Records:[22]

  1. "Lonely Years" (Mayall) – 3:21
  2. "Bernard Jenkins" (Clapton) – 3:48

40th anniversary Deluxe Edition (Decca) (2006)[edit]

Disc one
1–12: original album in mono
13–24: original album in stereo
Disc two
  1. "Crawling up a Hill" (Mayall) – 2:08
  2. "Crocodile Walk" (Mayall) – 2:23
  3. "Bye Bye Bird" (Sonny Boy Willamson, Willie Dixon) – 2:49
  4. "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (Mayall) – 2:11
  5. "Telephone Blues" (Mayall) – 3:57
  6. "Bernard Jenkins" (Clapton) – 3:49
  7. "Lonely Years" (Mayall) – 3:19
  8. "Cheatin' Woman" (Mayall) – 2:03
  9. "Nowhere to Turn" (Mayall) – 1:42
  10. "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (Mayall) – 2:10
  11. "On Top of the World (Stereo mix)" (Mayall) – 2:34
  12. "Key to Love" (Mayall) – 2:02
  13. "On Top of the World" (Mayall) – 2:34
  14. "They Call It Stormy Monday" (T-Bone Walker) – 4:35
  15. "Intro into Maudie" (John Lee Hooker, Mayall) – 2:27
  16. "It Hurts to Be in Love" (Dixon, Toombs) – 3:22
  17. "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" (Myles) – 6:44
  18. "Bye Bye Bird" (Williamson, Dixon) – 3:51
  19. "Hoochie Coochie Man" (Dixon) – 3:53
Recording locations (disc two)
  • 1–3: BBC Saturday Club session
  • 4–7: appeared as singles (A and B sides)
  • 8–10: BBC Saturday Club session
  • 11: unreleased track (stereo mix)
  • 12–13: BBC Saturday Club session
  • 14: live track from Looking Back
  • 15–19: live tracks from Primal Solos
  • Personnel[edit]

    Blues Breakers[22]

    Horn section on tracks 7, 9, 11[22]

    Additional musicians

    • Geoff Krivit – guitar (disc two tracks 8–10, not featured on original album)
    • Jack Bruce – bass (disc two tracks 14–19, not featured on original album)



    Chart (1966) Peak
    UK (UK Album Chart) 6[23]


    Region Certification Certified units/sales
    United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Gold 100,000^

    ^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


    1. ^ a b c Clapton 2007, pp. 72, 73.
    2. ^ Eder, Bruce. "John Mayall: Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
    3. ^ a b Gordon, Keith. "Review of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton Album". Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
    4. ^ Schumacher 2003, pp. 64–66.
    5. ^ Hjort, Christopher (2007). Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965–1970. Jawbone Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-1-906002-00-8.
    6. ^ a b "Gibson Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul". Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
    7. ^ July 2016, Damian Fanelli 07. "Has Eric Clapton's Legendary "Beano" Les Paul Burst Been Found?". Retrieved 19 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
    8. ^ "Music – Review of John Mayall – Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
    9. ^ a b c Slaven 1966, Back cover.
    10. ^ a b Maloof 2004, pp. 48–49.
    11. ^ The Beano comic is #1242 and dated 7 May 1966
    12. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers: Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton [Remastered] at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
    13. ^ Larkin, Colin (30 September 2013). The Virgin Encyclopedia of the Blues. Random House. ISBN 9781448132744. Retrieved 13 November 2017 – via Google Books.
    14. ^ Jones, Chris. "BBC – Music – Review of John Mayall – Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton". BBC. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
    15. ^ Kot, Greg (21 February 1993). "It's a Roller-coaster Career from Blues to Pop and Back". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
    16. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 3074. ISBN 978-0857125958.
    17. ^ Russell, Tony; Smith, Chris (2006). The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings. Penguin. pp. 427–428. ISBN 978-0-140-51384-4.
    18. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 148. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
    19. ^ "195 Blues Breakers". Rolling Stone. 1 November 2003. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
    20. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time – Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
    21. ^ Dimery & Lydon 2010.
    22. ^ a b c Trynka, Paul (May 1998). Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (CD liner notes). John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (2001 US Deram reissue ed.). New York City: Deram Records. Back cover. 422 882 967-2.
    23. ^ "Blues Breakers: John Mayall with Eric Clapton". Official Charts. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
    24. ^ "British album certifications – John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 November 2021.


    External links[edit]