an American blues and rock and roll musician and guitarist.
Bishop was born in Glendale, California, and grew up on a farm near Elliott, Iowa. His family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he was 10. There he attended Will Rogers High School. He moved to Chicago in 1960 after he won a National Merit Scholarship to the University of Chicago, where he studied physics. He met harmonica player Paul Butterfield in 1963 in the neighborhood of Hyde Park and joined his blues band, with whom he remained for five years. Their third album, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, takes its name from Bishop's nickname. In 1968 he went solo and formed the Elvin Bishop Group, also standing in for Mike Bloomfield on The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.
In March 1971, The Elvin Bishop Group and The Allman Brothers Band co-billed a series of concerts at Fillmore East. Bishop joined the Allmans onstage for a rendition of his own song, "Drunken Hearted Boy". Over the years, Bishop has recorded with many other blues artists including Clifton Chenier and John Lee Hooker. In late 1975, he played guitar for a couple of tracks on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll album. He toured with B. B. King in 1995.
Bishop made an impression on album-oriented rock FM radio stations with "Travelin' Shoes" in 1975. However, in 1976, Bishop released his most memorable single, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love", which peaked at #3 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (and #34 in the UK charts), about his love affair with the late Jenny Villarin, the mother of his late daughter Selina Bishop. The recording featured vocalist Mickey Thomas and drummer Donny Baldwin who both later joined Jefferson Starship. The song was featured in the films Summer of Sam, Boogie Nights and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.
Bishop feels that the limitations of his voice have helped his songwriting.
Bishop appeared at the 1984 Long Beach Blues Festival. In 1988, he signed with Alligator Records and released Big Fun featuring Whit Lehnberg & The Carptones, 1991's Don't Let the Bossman Get You Down, 1995's Ace in the Hole, 1998's The Skin I'm In and 2000's That's My Partner, on which he paired with his original Chicago bluesman teacher, Little Smokey Smothers.
Bishop's Alligator Records releases have been consistently well conceived.
Bishop performing at the Riverwalk Blues Festival in February 2006 playing his Gibson ES-345In 2005, Bishop released his first new CD in five years, Gettin' My Groove Back. Bishop released his latest album The Blues Roles On on September 23, 2008, on Delta Groove Music. He was supported by B. B. King, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, George Thorogood, James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Tommy Castro, John Nemeth and Angela Strehli. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. This fall, Elvin will be headlining the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, NB.