John Mayall is a British-born pioneer of the blues. His musical career spans more than 50 years and he has been very influential in the careers of many other musicians, including Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Fleetwood, and others. Mayall started playing as early as 1956, but it was not until the formation of the Bluesbreakers in 1963 that he started playing larger venues, such as the Marquee Club on Oxford Street in London. In April 1965, Eric Clapton replaced Roger Dean and the Bluesbreakers took off. Clapton departed for a short time, but returned in November 1965 and the group started work on an album, which was released in July 1966. This album was the commercial breakthrough for Mayall, and it reached #6 on the British charts. During the release of the album, Clapton left the band for good, announcing the formation of Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
Mayall's career continued, with the Bluesbreakers recording more albums and Mayall performing with a wide variety of musicians. From the late 1960s to date, Mayall has recorded scores of albums—the last in 2009. In 2005, Mayall was awarded an OBE in the Honours List by the British government. “It’s the only major award I’ve ever received. I’ve never had a hit record or a Grammy or been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” commented Mayall.