John Mayall OBE (born 29 November 1933) is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over fifty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians. They include Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser, Johnny Almond, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington.
Born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1933, Mayall’s father Murray Mayall, was a guitarist and jazz music enthusiast. From an early age, John was drawn to the sounds of American blues players such as Lead Belly, Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith, and Eddie Lang, and taught himself to play the piano, guitars, and harmonica.
John Mayall spent three years in Korea for national service and, during a period of leave, he bought his first electric guitar. Back in England, he enrolled at Manchester College of Art (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University) and started playing with semi-professional bands. After graduation, he obtained a job as an art designer but continued to play with local musicians. In 1963, he opted for a full-time musical career and moved to London. His previous craft would be put to good use in the designing of covers for many of his coming albums.
Since the end of the 1960s John Mayall has lived in the US. A brush fire destroyed his house in Laurel Canyon in 1979, seriously damaging his musical collections and archives.
Mayall has been married twice, and has six grandchildren. His second wife, Maggie Mayall is an American blues performer, and since the early 1980s took part in the management of her husband’s career.