Michael Bloomfield

Michael Bloomfield
Michael Bloomfield

Michael Bloomfield

The Rise and Fall of an American Guitar Hero
By Ed Ward, Foreword by Billy F. Gibbons


296 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $19.99 (US $19.99) (CA $26.99)

ISBN 9780912777788

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jul 2018)


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This is the definitive biography of the legendary guitarist whom Muddy Waters and B. B. King held in high esteem and who created the prototype for Clapton, Hendrix, Page, and those who followed. Bloomfield was a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which inspired a generation of white blues players; he played with Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s, when his guitar was a central component of Dylan’s new rock sound on “Like a Rolling Stone.” He then founded the Electric Flag, recorded Super Session with Al Kooper, backed Janis Joplin, and released at least twenty other albums despite debilitating substance abuse. This book, based on extensive interviews with Bloomfield himself and with those who knew him best, and including an extensive discography and Bloomfield’s memorable 1968 Rolling Stone interview, is an intimate portrait of one of the pioneers of rock guitar.


“A riveting tale of a restless spirit.” —Rolling Stone

"In this chronicle of a life found and lost, Ed Ward writes with deep empathy, and also with a hard-boiled patience that burns off all sentiment. It is the perfect tone for a story Ward never tries to make bigger than it is, so that finally it makes terrible and final sense." —Greil Marcus, author of The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs and Mystery Train

"Michael Bloomfield was brilliant, troubled, flawed, charming, and dauntingly influential, and Ed Ward adeptly balances his strengths and weaknesses, creating a picture of a man who was all too in tune with a complicated time." —Elijah Wald, author of Dylan Goes Electric! and Escaping the Delta

"With all due respect to Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, and so many others who are in the pantheon of blues greats, in this white Jew's opinion, Michael Bloomfield was simply the best blues guitarist I've ever heard." —Rob Reiner, filmmaker and actor

"Michael Bloomfield was such a unique and mercurial character is was like handling hot coals in your mind. You should get to know him because the people that knew him, loved him. His guitar playing was beautiful. His heart and soul were as big as it gets. This remembrance brings to life the amazing story of a young Jewish kid from Chicago's North Side whose unique style of improvisational guitar led the world into the modern age of blues and rock. Hey, folks, he was historic." —Nick Gravenites, singer and songwriter

"A brilliant biography of the ethereal Chicago blues guitar giant who shook the walls down in the '60s and '70s with his soaring art. There is a mother lode of fresh rock 'n' roll history in these pages. The discography alone is worth the price of admission. Highly recommended!" —Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage and The Wilderness Warrior

“[A] terrific book, which charts the course of Bloomfield's life and career with style, detail and insight.” —Chicago Tribune

Author Biography

Ed Ward has been the “rock & roll historian” for Terry Gross and Fresh Air since that show’s inception, and has contributed over 500 stories to it. He is also a founding director of the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference; wrote one-third of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll, in 1986; was the Central European cultural correspondent for the Wall Street Journal for seven years; and was on one of the early staffs at Rolling Stone. He lives in Austin, Texas. Billy F. Gibbons is the guitarist and lead vocalist of ZZ Top. He lives in Los Angeles.