One of America's greatest white blues musicians, Mike Bloomfield initially earned his reputation as the pioneering guitar player in the original Paul Butterfield Blues Band, influencing nearly every guitarist who heard him. His impressive work with Butterfield led to his recruitment into many other projects, most notably Dylan's transition into electric rock music, where his expressive, fluid soloing propelled Dylan's music into a whole other realm. Bloomfield then went on to found what can arguably be considered America's first supergroup, Electric Flag, a seminally important band that became the critical link between the Chicago and San Francisco sounds of the late 1960s. Bloomfield's mastery of lead guitar during this era was second to none, and his astounding abilities displayed that he was equally adept at playing sweet and soulful as he was at stinging lead lines.
Following the demise of the Flag, Bloomfield became increasingly uncomfortable with the reverential guitar hero treatment. His distaste for fame, a chronic health bout with insomnia, and his hard drug use all contributed to increasingly erratic behavior and to him shying away from the limelight. He consciously pursued a lower-profile career into the 1970s, primarily playing club gigs in and around San Francisco and lending his name and guitar prowess to his friends' recording projects. He also began releasing a number of low-visibility albums for smaller labels that displayed a more traditional, less adventurous blues focus. On February 15, 1981 on the day his new album, Crusin' For a Brusin', was released, Bloomfield was found dead in San Francisco in his car. The cause of death was accidental overdose from heroin and cocaine.