100 Greatest Guitarists

42

Mike Bloomfield

mike bloomfield
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"He didn't get a chance to expand the mission of his soul, but those few albums he played on – those are enough," says Carlos Santana, referring to Mike Bloomfield's death in 1981, of a drug overdose at age 37, and the key recordings Bloomfield left behind. Bloomfield helped Bob Dylan go electric with his work on Highway 61 Revisited (those are Bloomfield's skyward spirals on "Like a Rolling Stone") and two albums with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, including 1966's raga-blues monster, East-West. (Check out Bloomfield's winding, epic solo on the title track.) A native of Chicago, Bloomfield studied the local electric-blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf up close while he was growing up, and he packed those lessons into a piercing clean-treble tone and solos that took off with fluid, modal-jazz ecstasy. "Michael always sounded like a salmon going against the current," Santana says. "He comes from B.B. King. But he went somewhere else."

Key Tracks:"East-West," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Groovin' Is Easy"

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