‘That went along with budget saving’: Steve Cropper on lost scenes from The Blues Brothers

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For all of the fame the Blues Brothers franchise belatedly afforded Steve Cropper, he says the original 1980 film actually had several scenes cut that would have showcased Cropper and his pipe-smoking, bass-playing bandmate in Booker T. and the MGs, Donald “Duck” Dunn.

Both musicians had feature moments in the initial script, but neither was shot as part of the comedy extravaganza. The film, which also featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway, ultimately had far more material than could be comfortably fit into a feature-length presentation.

“That went along, I guess, with budget saving,” Cropper tells Michael Berry. “In its entirety, I was told by [Blues Brothers director] John Landis that they filmed over 600 miles of film — which would have made that movie about a four-hour saga. [Laughs.] They really had to edit a lot of it down.”

Some of those lost scenes, Cropper adds, had been ear-marked for a future television special. “But that never happened,” Cropper adds. Contracts had already been signed for a sequel, too — though ultimately, because of Belushi’s untimely death, that didn’t take place until the late 1990s, with John Goodman filling in for Belushi.

In that sequel, called Blues Brothers 2000, Dan Aykroyd made a point of giving Cropper and the band a spotlight moment, bringing the guitarist forward in an attempt to make up for the lost earlier scenes. “It was Dan’s intention,” Cropper says, “very definitely his intention — and also Landis went along with it. He wanted to bring us to the forefront, in the second movie.”

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  • Robert Steven Kizziah

    I worked in the kitchen at Blues Harbor on Peachtree Street in Buckhead and Matt Murphy was booked to play. I brought my copy of my album (Briefcase full of Blues) to autograph. He had never even seen or held a copy of the album before. We sat down on the edge of the stage while he looked it over intently. He was so very nice and thanked me for bringing it in. I saw the Duck onstage with Kim wilson, Dion, and Dave Edmunds a few years later , very cool show.

    • rdglider

      Well I’m sure there was some mistake…We (Blues Brothers ) all had copies of the album, as well as gold and platinum record awards given out during the record convention the BB played in LA. Besides, Matt’s picture is on the back with the band!!