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John Mayall Announces Retirement from Touring

John Mayall performs on stage at Teatro Nuevo Apolo on October 08, 2019 in Madrid, Spain
(Image credit: Javier Bragado/Redferns)

Blues guitar legend John Mayall has announced his retirement from touring.

In a Facebook post, the 87-year-old Mayall – who for decades led the enormously influential Bluesbreakers – cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and his advancing age as the primary reasons to "hang up my road shoes."

“I have decided, due to the risks of the pandemic and my advancing age, that it is time for me to hang up my road shoes," Mayall wrote. "As a result I will be radically reducing my touring schedule and will be limiting my performances to local shows near my home in California, and the occasional concert further afield. 

“My epic road dog days however have come to an end. I want to thank my audience for all the wonderful decades of shows, your infectious enthusiasm for my music and for your support throughout my many musical incarnations. It has been a privilege to have spent my life doing what I love and having you along for the ride with me through all of it.”

With Mayall at the helm and on rhythm guitar, the Bluesbreakers became a proving ground for a virtual revolving door of electric guitar heroes in the '60s and '70s, with the likes of Peter Green, Mick Taylor, and, most famously, Eric Clapton all taking the lead guitar slot in the band before moving on to bigger stages.

Cream bassist Jack Bruce, Frank Zappa drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and Fleetwood Mac's rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood also all got their start with the Bluesbreakers.

Though the Bluesbreakers' halcyon days of yore were long behind him, Mayall – with and without his famous band – maintained a solid touring schedule well into his mid-80s. Though he's scaling down his live commitments, Mayall's still not done creating new music, as evidenced by his announcement – in the same statement – of a new studio album called The Sun Is Shining Down.

“I’m proud of what we came up with and excited to share it with you,” Mayall said of the album, which is set for release on January 21, 2022.