John "Pops" McFarlane
Inducted in 2000
John "Pops" McFarlane
Born in Peoria, Illinois, on July 14,1938, his
early influences were boogie woogie, jazz and
blues. John's first professional gig in the late
50's was with Wild Child Gipson and the
Violaters. While playing with Wild Child, Pops
played his first paid record session at Chess
Studios in Chicago, with Ralph Bass as A&R
By the mid sixties, after a brief stint with the
"Rockin R's," he formed with guitarist Steve
Degenford, a very successful R&B/Blues Band
in Illinois called the "Soul Mates."
During the late sixties, Pops was instrumental
in forming another popular Illinois band called
"The Jam Factory."
In the early 70's, Pops played with several
blues influenced bands, and in the mid seventies
was an original member of the " Havana Ducks," a
very popular Champagne, Illinois band.
In 1980, Pops became Luther Allison's bass
player, touring extensively in Western Europe,
Canada, and the Midwest and East Coast of the
United States. While with Luther, he played the
North Sea Jazz Festival, Nancy France Jazz
Festival, Montreal Festival of Arts, Summer Fest
and Chicago Fest, and many others. Other bands
at these shows included such artists as Muddy
Waters, BB King, Albert King, and Willie Dixon.
At the Montreal Festival for the Arts, Pops
played bass for Buddy Guy & Junior Wells and
also Big Mama Thorton. At other times, Pops
played on stage with Albert Collins, Robert Jr.
Lockwood, Willie Mabon, Eddie Boyd, Champion
Jack Dupre and many others.
By the Mid 80's, Pops was in Colorado playing
with a group of young musicians called "The
Persuaders." With Pops' blues influence and the
strength and talent of Rick Berthoud on Lead
Guitar, the band was very successful and became
a very popular Los Angeles Blues Band
In 1989, Pops moved to Arizona and found the
perfect band for his style of blues, the "Hoodoo
Kings." Over the years the band has won numerous
awards such as "New Times" BEST BLUES BAND, as
well as the Best Blues Band award from the
Also played 2 years with the Rhythm Room House
Band with Chico Chism, Mario Moreno, Johnnie
Rapp, and Mule, backing up many blues artists
such as Lazy Lester, Mo Jo Buford, and others.
Pops can be heard on recordings in with:
Pops passed away in May of 2014.