The Blues Brothers Tour

Do the Bony Maronie all down Lake Shore Drive.

It’s 106 miles to Chicago …

Directed by John Landis, The Blues Brothers is, as Roger Ebert put it in a 1980 review, “some weird movie.” It’s certainly one of the most iconic films set in Chicago (and the surrounding suburbs).

From the Joliet Correctional Center to Maxwell Street; Bronzeville to Lower Wacker Drive, no location is safe from utter destruction.

In honor of that destruction — and to celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary — we made you this:

The Blues Brothers Tour, a guide to the Windy City inspired by perhaps its most iconic film.

For further reading on the making of of the movie, we highly recommend diving into Ned Zeman’s piece for Vanity Fair.

95th Street Bridge

The film begins with Elwood picking up Jake from prison in the Bluesmobile — a cooked-up Mount Prospect police cruiser (’73 Dodge Monaco, to be exact). To prove its worth, Elwood — as good as any seasoned Chicago driver — performs the most unrealistic bridge jump in cinema history.

It’s the film in a nutshell. Dry. Excessive. Matter-of-fact. All set to the blues:

The Blues Brothers – Bridge Jump Scene“No, I don’t like it.”1:23

You can still drive on the drawbridge today. And it’s right next to the city’s most famous fish shack, Calumet Fisheries. Order up some smoked chubs and park it.

Ray’s Music Exchange

With the band rectified, Jake and Elwood stop by Ray’s Music Exchange for some gear. An iconic musical number ensues. This was actually shot in Bronzeville at Shelley’s Loan Co. (map), which stills stands. The mural — painted for the film — also still stands, albeit barely. Make a pilgrimmage.

If you’re in need of some real music shops, try these:

312 Vintage Guitars – 754 W. 35th St.
Chicago Music Exchange – 3316 N. Lincoln Ave.
Andy’s Music – 3139 N. Elston Ave.

“Shake a Tail Feather”: How To Do It Right

Musical dance scenes. This movie’s got ’em. In the Ray Charles number, the Genius of Soul barks out a few dancing orders for the brothers Blues, and a talented group of passersby lining 47th Street follows suit. You should, too. Here’s how:

Shake A Tail Feather“Excuse me, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the action on this piano.”3:15

The Final Car Chase

For the climactic car chase that takes the brothers from Lower Wacker Drive to Daley Plaza, some 100 cop cars were destroyed (a world record at the time). Pure parody. Pure comedy. The movie’s other iconic chase scene: Dixie Square Mall, out in the south suburb of Harvey — which was demolished in 2012.

Chased By the Cops“Well, this is definitely Lower Wacker Drive!”3:27

The exact intersection of the ridiculous pile-up scene: Lake and LaSalle. Slow your roll. Follow up the sight with a relaxing walk down to the Chicago Riverwalk.

Chicago Blues Revue: A Playlist

It begins with music. It ends with music. Here’s a down and dirty Spotify survey of some mighty blues tunes cut right here in Chicago. Heavy on the electric. Some classics, some rarities. Jake and Elwood would be proud. Enjoy.