Blowin’ the Blues – John Mayall, The Godfather of British Blues

I interviewed John Mayall OBE, The Godfather of British Blues, recently. 82 years old and still performing every night on tour like a Kentucky Spring Chicken. The Blues has endured as a musical genre for more than 100 years – that’s longevity in a field where genres are now thin sliced and the half life of an artist or musical genre is in decline. Here’s the interview with the legendary Mr Mayall:

The video contains parallel business insights into:
  • Attracting and developing talent – John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers was effectively a hothousing incubator for Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood, Andy Fraser, Walter Trout et al.
  • Longevity and keeping focus on your unique selling points – John Mayall has, in Tom Peter’s words, quite literally “stuck to the knitting” for 80 years, playing and developing the art form known as the blues.
  • Learning effortlessly – In common with so many great musicians John Mayall is self taught, plays piano, guitar and many other instruments and does not read music.

The Academy of Rock offer masterclasses in the blues with related lessons for business people in terms of improvisation and creativity, collaboration and teamwork. If you wish we also bring a full blues band to allow you to practice these gentle arts with real musicians.


Peter Cook
Peter Cook
PETER leads Human Dynamics, offering Business and Organisation Development. He also delivers keynotes around the world that blend business intelligence with parallel lessons from music via The Academy of Rock. Author of and contributor to twelve books on business leadership, acclaimed by Tom Peters, Professors Charles Handy, Adrian Furnham, and Harvey Goldsmith CBE. His blends his three passions are science, business, and music into unique inspiring keynotes based on the art of storytelling. His early life involved leading innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for HIV/AIDS, Herpes and the development of Human Insulin. 18 years in academia teaching MBAs and 18 + years running his businesses. All his life since the age of four playing music. Peter won a prize for his work from Sir Richard Branson after his mother claimed he was a Virgin birth. He now writes for

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



  1. Great interview Peter. Just love your theme of connecting the lessons of Music as applied to business – we hear so much about Jerry Garcia’s / G Dead’s ‘School of Business’ – but the lessons from so many of the greats in there music world can readily be applied – kudos for making the connection.

    • Ah, thank you John – I see you connected on Linkedin and I’m pleased to do so – I was over in San Diego working the other week – hope to find out more about your work in due course.

      In the meantime, do check the books out which extend these points

      all the best


    • Peter, we will – and I already had !

      I last saw Mayall play on Maui about 5 (?) years ago. Maui happens to be where Mick Fleetwood now lives, and who guested on a couple of songs on the drums with John cavorting around as if he was a teenager. People talk about the energy of Jagger – go see Mayall.

      Let me also add that great musicians aside, a lot of whom went on to form their own bands like Free and influence bands like Zappa’s – we should not forget that through their *collaboration* in The Bluesbreakers, the musicians not only got to know each other – but also PLAY together.

      There is strong argument that suggests that without John, bands like Colosseum, Fleetwood Mac, Cream and Mark-Almond might never have been formed.

    • Coo, that must have been really something John – it occurs to me that the Blues – Breakers did actually break all those bands …