Michael Bernard Bloomfield (July 28, 1943 – February 15, 1981) was an American guitarist and composer, born in Chicago, Illinois, who became one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s to earn his reputation almost entirely on his instrumental prowess, since he rarely sang before 1969. Respected for his guitar playing, Bloomfield knew and played with many of Chicago’s blues musicians before achieving his own fame and was instrumental in popularizing blues music in the mid-1960s. He was ranked No. 22 on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2003 and No. 42 by the same magazine in 2011. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2012 and, as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
In the 1970s Bloomfield played in local San Francisco Bay area clubs, including the Keystone Korner, and sat in with other bands. In 1977, Bloomfield was selected by Andy Warhol to do the soundtrack for the pop artist’s last film, Andy Warhol’s Bad (also known as BAD). An unreleased single, “Andy’s Bad”, was also produced for the project. During 1979–1981 he performed often with the King Perkoff Band, sometimes introducing them as the “Michael Bloomfield and Friends” outfit. Bloomfield recorded “Hustlin’ Queen”, written by John Isabeau and Perkoff in 1979. He toured Italy and Sweden with guitarist Woody Harris and cellist Maggie Edmondson in the summer of 1980. He sat in with Bob Dylan at San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre on November 15, 1980. Bloomfield played on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar”. He continued to play live dates, and his performance at San Francisco State College on February 7, 1981, would be his final appearance.
Although Bloomfield came from a wealthy family, he never inherited a large lump sum. He received annual income from a trust that had been set up by his paternal grandfather, which gave him $50,000 each year.
The exact events and circumstances that led to Bloomfield’s death are not clear. What is known is that he was found dead in his car on February 15, 1981. He was seated behind the wheel of his Mercury, with all four doors locked. The only details (from unnamed sources) relate that Bloomfield died at a San Francisco party and was driven to another location in the city by two men who were present at the party. Bloomfield’s last album, Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, was released the day his death was announced. His remains are interred in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, in Culver City, near Los Angeles. (wikipedia)
By the mid-seventies, Mike Bloomfield’s friendship with Electric Flag members remained as strong as ever, as their two-night engagement at New York’s Bottom Line in January 1975 testifies. Minus Goldberg and Miles and putting a failed reunion Flag album behind him, Bloomfield is joined by friends past and present.
Nick Gravenites, Mike Bloomfield & Roger Troy:
With ex-Butterfield cohort Mark Naftalin, George Raines (Boz Scaggs) and new Electric Flag recruit Roger ‘Jellyroll’ Troy, the band would find little or no pressure at the Bottom Line. Echoes of Electric Flag and Gravenites’ tenure in Big Brother are recalled alongside the more traditional drawl of Little Walter and Stick McGhee.
Six years later, Mike Bloomfield would be found dead in his car from a drug overdose. It’s a prized concert from an icon that embraced the blues and who left a legacy behind him.
And here is the entire original WLIR-FM broadcast of Mike Bloomfield and Friends live from the Bottom Line, NY on January 25th 1975.
Mike Bloomfield (guitar, vocals)
Nick Gravenites (guitar, vocals)
Mark Naftalin (piano)
Roger Troy (bass, vocals)
George Rains (drums)
01. How Long Can This Go On? (Parker) 4.44
02. Band intro 0.34
02. Orphan’s Blues (Brown) 7.35
03. Blue Highway (Gravenites) 7.55
04. Buried Alive In The Blues (Gravenites) 6.34
05.I’ll Never Get Over Losing You /unknown) 12.46
06. Station Announcements 1.09
07. Lights Out (Rebenack/David) 2.16
08. You’ve Been Wrong For So Long (unknown) 7.31
09. My Labors (Gravenites) 7.36
10. Wine (Traditional) 3.23