Elvin Bishop

2010 - Individual Artist

Elvin Bishop was born on October 21, 1942 in Glendale, Ca. and at the age of three, he and his family moved to a farm outside Elliott, Iowa . It was here that he first got introduced to the guitar and also began hearing the blues sounds on late night radio that would forever shape his future in blues and rock ‘n roll.

In 1959 Elvin used a National Merit Scholarship as a way to get closer to his blues heroes by enrolling in the University of Chicago to study physics. Within two years of arriving in Chicago , Elvin left his physics studies behind and turned his interest to blues on a full time basis. Elvin met Little Smokey Smothers and began to hang out with the established guitarist for hours on end.  Smothers began teaching Elvin how to play real blues guitar and Elvin, with Smokey’s help, became an accomplished and innovative player.

Elvin also crossed paths in Chicago with fellow student and harmonica player Paul Butterfield.  From this encounter along with the addition of Mike Bloomfield came The Paul Butterfield Blues Band which was formed in 1963. By 1967 the bands popularity flourished and their straight Chicago blues drifted over to rock ‘n roll. Their albums led to the dual guitar attack that groups moved toward like The Allman Bros. and many, many others.

At the end of the 1960’s, Elvin headed for San Francisco where he became a regular in the Fillmore jam sessions alongside Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B.B. King and and numerous others. It was here that Elvin also began his solo career. He then moved to recording songs such as “Travelin’ Shoes” and his single “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” that reached #3 on the pop charts. He took some time off in the late 70’s and early 80’s but returned to his roots in 1988 signing with Alligator Records.

Elvin continues to record, perform and amaze audiences today with a group he has put together in San Francisco . He is truly a great legend in blues and rock ‘n roll that started his illustrious career right here in the state of Iowa .  For his contributions to rock ‘n roll and its history we proudly induct Elvin Bishop into the IRRMA Hall of Fame with the Class of 2010.

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