The Blues Brothers: Original Soundtrack Recording

 
Cult classic romp boasts great tracks by music legends.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This music is more about fun than messages. Still, there are uplifting moments, from James Brown returning to his gospel roots with a rockin' choir in "The Old Landmark" to Aretha Franklin's take-no-prisoners delivery of "Think":  "People walkin' around every day / Playin' games and takin' scores / Tryin' to make other people lose their minds / Well be careful you don't lose yours ...
You need me and I need you / Without each other, ain't nothin' neither can do."

 
Positive role models

In real life, John Belushi famously died too young from his druggie ways. In the movie, the Brothers are golden-hearted scoundrels who engage in all manner of mayhem to do a good deed (save the Catholic orphanage they grew up in). This imparts a certain quality of cheerful outlaw fun to the music, but aside from the hoochie lifestyle of "Minnie the Moocher" and the inmates' party in "Jailhouse Rock," both played for laughs, there's not much bad behavior to worry about -- and the latter is more a celebration of music's ability to bring people together than a feast of criminality.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

"So glad we made it" in "Gimme Some Lovin'" may have a sexual connotation -- or maybe not. The comical Minnie the Moocher ("a lowdown hoochie-coocher") hangs out with dubious guys and dreams of being kept in style by rich men.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher," Minnie "messed around with a bloke named Smokey / She loved him, though he was coke-y."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the soundtrack to The Blues Brothers is big fun and bypasses the movie's problematical themes of comically criminal behavior. It offers a great sampling of 20th century pop culture with iconic tracks from TV themes to chart hits, including "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "Jailhouse Rock." Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi front a hot band of the day's top studio musicians, and James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Cab Calloway contribute stellar cameo appearances.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Jake and Elwood Blues began as a Saturday Night Live comedy routine by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. By the time THE BLUES BROTHERS movie came along in 1980, they'd produced actual hit records, thanks in part to the hot band of studio musicians the two comics put together. The soundtrack to their cinematic adventure finds the band romping happily through bluesy bar-band classics in between the Brothers' encounters with 20th century music icons James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin, who turn in memorable versions of their own hits.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Blues Brothers in general, and this album in particular, were never a hit with purists who preferred the original versions of the tunes they covered and deplored their frequent silliness. However, many critics and fans credit the Brothers with introducing them to the blues and being a launchpad for future explorations. And for kids, this is a fine place to start. There's plenty to explore, as the cover tunes spotlight a great collection of 20th century composers and songwriters, from Henry Mancini to Taj Mahal. Aretha Franklin and late legends James Brown, Cab Calloway, and Ray Charles make cameo appearances doing what they do best; Franklin's blazing "Think" and James Brown in preacher mode with a full gospel choir on "The Old Landmark" are showstoppers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this music, some of which goes back generations, has the same appeal for today's kids. Or is it too old-school?

  • A lot of the songs on this album have become standards -- meaning most musicians know them, play them together, and have fun with them in the process. Does it sound as if they're having fun on the album?

  • Do you think this band would still be happening if John Belushi had lived? How do you like Dan Aykroyd's work since Belushi's death?

Music details

Artist:The Blues Brothers
Release date:June 20, 1980
Type:Album
Label:Atlantic
Genre:Soundtrack
Topics:Friendship, History, Music and sing-along
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of The Blues Brothers: Original Soundtrack Recording was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass