‘Hey Bartender,’ John Belushi with Allman Brothers

John Belushi sings as Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band plays guitar at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic in April 1979.

John Belushi sings as Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band plays guitar at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic in April 1979.

Those attending the Allman Brothers Band concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic on April 20, 1979, might have been expecting something special, since the show was being broadcast live on WNEW-FM. And they got, probably, a bigger surprise than they were expecting when John Belushi showed up during the encores to sing the blues standard, “Hey Bartender,” with the group — and do a cartwheel, which is visible at the 1:25 mark of the video, below.

Belushi had already done his Blues Brothers routine on “Saturday Night Live” at this point, and the Blues Brothers album Briefcase Full of Blues came out in 1978, though the hit movie “The Blues Brothers” did not come out until 1980.

I’m not sure who that is taking the harmonica solo on this song. If anybody knows, please let me know in the comments section, below.

In 1982, Belushi died of a drug overdose. And The Allman Brothers Band is now nearing the end of its long, incredible run; the group has announced that its six shows this month at the Beacon Theatre in New York will be its final concerts.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.

4 thoughts on “‘Hey Bartender,’ John Belushi with Allman Brothers

  1. Being that it was 1979 they were touring for the “Enlightened Roughes” album…my guess would be Jim Essery on Harp. According to Wickipedia he played on 4 tracks for the album, but I’m not 100% positive that he toured with them. Just my guess.

  2. “Belushi had already done his Blues Brothers routine on “Saturday Night Live” a few times at this point, though the hit movie “The Blues Brothers” did not come out until 1980.”

    The above is misleading. Not only had “Belushi … done his … routine” on SNL, he and Akroyd had well developed the act by that point. The Blues Brothers *album*, which contains a swinging version of Hey Bartender, was released in 1978, so that version of the song would have been well known to the Capitol Theater audience by 1979.

    Belushi does do a cartwheel that can be seen on the video during Dicky Betts’ solo beginning at 1:25.

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