‘We had more fun making that movie’: The Blues Brothers sequel remains a favorite for Steve Cropper

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Blues Brothers 2000, the belated sequel to 1980’s blockbuster Blues Brothers, wouldn’t be as heralded as the first — and that’s in no small way because original star John Belushi was gone. Yet, Steve Cropper might just have better memories the second time around.

“My good buddy, (MGs bassist) Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, and I both said we had more fun making that movie than we did the first one,” Cropper tells Michael Berry. “Maybe we had premonitions about what our role would be, maybe we were nervous about being in the movie (during the original shoot). That was one thing that the first movie accomplished: The powers than be in Hollywood told (initial stars) Dan (Akyroyd) and John that without question your band will not be in this movie — period. You know, ‘we’re not going to try to teach a bunch of musicians how to act. We’ll use actors.’ Well, they turned out to be wrong. I guess John and Danny called their bluff on it.”

Fast forward nearly two decades, and things were decidedly different. “Green Onions,” the signature hit from Cropper and Dunn’s time in Booker T. and the MGs, was prominently featured in the late-1990s-era follow up. The musicians were understood to be integral to that film’s success.

Contrast with the first Blues Brothers project, where “Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn’s scene was cut out of the script,” Cropper adds. “I had a whole scene that was cut out of the script, that was never filmed. That went along, I guess, with budget saving.”

Blues Brothers 2000 found Akyroyd pairing up with John Goodman, who portrayed “Mighty” Mack McTeer through a series of similarly constructed adventures as they tried to put the band back together. By then, original stars Cab Calloway and John Candy had also passed. Since, many of the sequel’s most notable figures have died, as well — including James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Billy Preston, Bo Diddley, Junior Wells, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Clemons and Cropper’s friend Dunn, among others.

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