On This Day: The Blues Brothers Make Their First Appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1976

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)

Remember the Bees? How about The Blues Brothers? Mix them together for their first appearance on Saturday Night Live on this day in 1976.

Yes, comedy and music lovers, we’re turning the clock back to the NBC late-night variety show’s early years. In case you did not know, comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd made their first showing in their porkpie hats.

Anything with bee costumes was status quo for Saturday Night Live in its early years. Belushi famously portrayed a Bee-like Ralph Kramden in The Honeybees sketch and his pal Aykroyd did a dead-stop impression of Ed Norton, too.

Maybe we will talk about that at another time. For now, though, let’s turn our attention to Twitter account Retro News Now for this little look at The Blues Brothers in action.

Oh, you might be asking what song are Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues performing here on Saturday Night Live? None other than Slip Harpo’s classic blues song I’m a King Bee.

‘Saturday Night Live’ Skit Turns Into Live Concerts, Record, Classic Movie

Yes, of course, The Blues Brothers would do this number. It fits the look and sound that they would bring forth just a couple of years later. The Saturday Night Live skit would turn into more than just a skit, for sure. Belushi and Aykroyd took The Blue Brothers on the road, performing actual concerts across the United States.

Their dates at the Universal Amphitheater would become the basis for their live album, A Briefcase Full of Blues. It also did not hurt that the twosome had an all-star band behind them, including Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn of the legendary group Booker T. and the M.G.’s. Paul Schafer, known to millions as late-night talk-show host David Letterman’s musical director, actually was in that role for Saturday Night Live.

But he would also be part of this band as was drummer Steve Jordan. These days, Jordan recently filled in for the late Charlie Watts in The Rolling Stones’ tour as he joined Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood on the stage.

The Blues Brothers Skit Becomes Movie With Cast Members Like Aretha, Ray Charles

Yes, The Blues Brothers became a movie of the same name directed by John Landis. Besides Belushi and Aykroyd, others that appear in the movie included James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, and Carrie Fisher.

Belushi and Aykroyd had started going off on their own and left Saturday Night Live behind by the time this movie hit screens around the United States. Over the years, the movie has become a cult favorite.

After John Belushi died in 1982, Dan Aykroyd has kept the music going with John’s brother Jim at times.