“The walls of Universal are still stained from the first Blues Brothers movie,” says Dan Aykroyd. Stained because, even though the studio eventually made all of its money back, it was a torturous process. But then, like all the best movies, The Blues Brothers only became a success later in its life.
Even the Vatican love it now – just this month they called it a ‘Catholic classic’, and held it up alongside more overtly religious films like The Ten Commandments and The Passion Of The Christ. Not bad considering Blues is essentially about two good-doing outlaws who wreak destruction on Chicago.
We love it mostly, though, because it’s effortlessly cool. Not cool in a slick Matrix kind of way (though the brothers' get-up is pretty nifty), but cool in its pure-hearted, dirty-minded soulfulness. It was, after all, birthed by the coolest shows ever – Saturday Night Live.
The brainchild of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, their SNL characters of band members and brothers Elwood and Jake Blues proved so successful that Universal practically begged them to turn the skit into a movie.
Aykroyd credits Sam & Dave as their inspiration, at the time saying: "Well obviously the duo thing and the dancing, but the hats came from John Lee Hooker. The suits came from the concept that when you were a jazz player in the 40s, 50s 60s, to look straight, you had to wear a suit."
Belushi, meanwhile, found salvation from boredom in the blues: “I was growing sick of rock and roll, it was starting to bore me...and I hated disco, so I needed some place to go. I hadn't heard much blues before. It felt good.”