Hughie Flint was the first drummer on the British blues scene who most Americans ever heard -- at least, playing blues -- mostly by virtue of his work with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and playing on Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. True, Ginger Baker may have been better known and more widely heard, but that was mostly with Disraeli Gears, which was much more a psychedelic album than a blues record. Flint was born in 1942 in Manchester, England, and he took up the drums at age nine. His interest in jazz dated from the early '50s. Flint first met John Mayall when the latter was teaching music at a local youth club, and it was through Mayall that Flint became familiar with blues. In the early spring of 1964, he joined Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and remained a part of that lineup through 1969, when Aynsley Dunbar succeeded him. In addition to Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, which has remained a perennially popular part of the group's catalog -- and features Flint's powerhouse drumming throughout -- he also played on Crusade (1967), Hard Road (1967), and So Many Roads (1969). But it was the album with Clapton that gave him his greatest exposure -- never out of print, the album's sales soared after the commercial breakthrough of Disraeli Gears provided a focus on Clapton's name for American listeners.
After his split with Mayall in 1969, Flint joined Manfred Mann guitarist/singer Tom McGuinness in co-founding McGuinness Flint, which scored a pair of Top Ten U.K. hits with "When I'm Dead and Gone" and "Malt and Barley Blues." Their success proved impossible to sustain into a second album, however, and the group splintered by the end of 1971, though it carried on with lineup changes into 1975. He did some session work during this period for such figures as Georgie Fame and his ex-bandmates Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, and appeared on the final Bonzo Dog Band album, Let's Make Up and Be Friendly. Flint next emerged in 1979 as a member of the Blues Band, which included McGuinness and longtime British blues fixture Dave Kelly, as well as former Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones. That group, following the release of its self-financed debut album, actually got a contract with Arista Records that kept the band busy into the mid-'80s, though Flint was only on two of those albums, Ready (1980) and Itchy Feet (1981). He was gone from the group by 1982, and left the music industry behind at the end of the decade. Since that time, he has been seen only intermittently, mostly in connection with his work with Mayall. In his latter-day appearances, and as a non-musician, he has been known by the less informal "Hugh Flint." ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi