John Mayall was, as a child, influenced by such greats as Leadbelly, Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith, and Eddie Lang. From the age of 13 he taught himself to play and develop his own style with the aid of a neighbour's piano, borrowed guitars, and secondhand harmonicas. John met his soulmate in Eric Clapton, who had quit the Yardbirds in favour of playing the blues. This historic union culminated in the first hit album for John’s band, the Bluesbreakers, and resulted in worldwide legendary status. A succession of great musicians defined their artistic roots under John's leadership, and he became well known for discovering new talent. As sidemen left to form their own groups, others took their places. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood became Fleetwood Mac. Andy Fraser formed Free, and Mick Taylor joined the Rolling Stones. As Eric Clapton has stated, "John Mayall has actually run an incredibly great school for musicians."