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Jimmy Reed

Jimmy Reed

born on 6/9/1925 in Leland, MS, United States

died on 29/8/1976 in Oakland, CA, United States

Jimmy Reed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mathis James Reed (September 6, 1925 – August 29, 1976)[1] was an American blues musician and songwriter. A major player of electric blues,[2] he had a significant impact on rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Hank Williams, Jr, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jerry Garcia and the Rolling Stones.


Reed was born in Dunleith, Mississippi, in 1925. He learned the harmonica and guitar from his friend Eddie Taylor.[3] After several years of busking and performing there, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1943. He was then drafted into the US Navy and served in World War II. He was discharged in 1945 and returned briefly to Mississippi, marrying his girlfriend, Mary (henceforth known as Mama Reed). He then moved to Gary, Indiana, to work at an Armour meat-packing plant. Mama Reed was an uncredited background singer on many of his recordings, notably the hits "Baby What You Want Me to Do", "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City".[3]

By the 1950s, Reed had established himself as a popular musician. He joined the Gary Kings with John Brim and played on the street with Willie Joe Duncan. Reed failed to gain a recording contract with Chess Records but signed with Vee-Jay Records through Brim's drummer, Albert King. At Vee-Jay, Reed began playing again with Eddie Taylor and soon released "You Don't Have to Go", his first hit record. This was followed by a long string of hits.

Reed maintained his reputation despite his rampant alcoholism; his wife sometimes had to help him remember the lyrics to his songs while recording. In 1957, Reed developed epilepsy, though the condition was not correctly diagnosed for a long time, as Reed and doctors assumed it was delirium tremens.[4]

In spite of his numerous hits, Reed's personal problems prevented him from achieving the same level of fame as other popular blues artists of the time, though he had more hit songs than many others. When Vee-Jay Records closed, his manager signed a contract with the fledgling ABC-Bluesway label, but Reed never produced another hit.

In 1968, he toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival.[2]

Reed died of respiratory failure in 1976, in Oakland, California,[1][5] eight days short of his 51st birthday. He is interred in the Lincoln Cemetery, in Worth, Illinois.

Reed was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.


The Rolling Stones have cited Reed as a major influence on their sound, and their early set lists included Reed's songs "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby", "The Sun Is Shining" (played by the Stones at the 1969 Altamont concert), "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Shame, Shame, Shame". The B-side of their February 1964 hit single "Not Fade Away" was a pastiche of "Shame, Shame, Shame", entitled "Little by Little". Their first album, The Rolling Stones (subtitled England's Newest Hit Makers in America), released in April 1964, featured "Little by Little" and their cover version of Reed's "Honest I Do".[6] For their 2016 release, Blue & Lonesome, they recorded a version of Reed's "Little Rain".[7]

The Yardbirds recorded an instrumental dedicated to Reed, "Like Jimmy Reed Again", which was released on the "definitive edition" of their album Having a Rave Up.[8]

The Animals considered Reed one of their main sources of inspiration and recorded versions of I Ain't Got You and Bright Lights, Big City.

Neil Young recorded a version of "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" for his 1996 album Broken Arrow.

Van Morrison's group Them covered "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Baby, What You Want Me to Do", both of which are on the album The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison.[9]

"Big Boss Man", sung by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, was regularly performed by the Grateful Dead in the 1960s and early 1970s and appears on their live album Grateful Dead (the "skull and roses" album).[10] It was revived by Jerry Garcia with the Dead in the 1980s. Bob Weir of the Dead also played it with the band Kingfish in the mid-1970s and, more recently, with Ratdog. Phil Lesh also plays it with Phil & Friends. The Grateful Dead also performed "Baby What You Want Me to Do", with vocals by Brent Mydland.

Elvis Presley recorded several of Reed's songs, having a hit with "Big Boss Man" in 1967 and recording several performances of "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" for his 1968 TV program. (Presley's 1964 hit "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" is a different song from that recorded by Reed.) "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" was also covered by Wishbone Ash on their 1972 album Live Dates[11] and was frequently performed by Etta James as well as Hot Tuna. Johnny and Edgar Winter performed it live in 1975 and included it on their album Together.[12]

Reed's recordings of "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City" are among the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Omar Kent Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan released the album On the Jimmy Reed Highway as a tribute to Reed.[13]

Bill Cosby covered four of Reed's songs, "Bright Lights, Big City", "Big Boss Man", "Hush Hush" and "Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth", for his 1967 album, Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings.[14]

The Steve Miller Band covered five of Reed's songs: "You're So Fine", on the 1968 album Sailor,[15] and "I Wanna Be Loved (But by Only You)", "Big Boss Man", "Caress Me Baby" and "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby", on the 1986 album Living in the 20th Century.[16]

The Blues Brothers recorded Reed's I Ain't Got You for their third album, Made in America.

Neil Young has played Reed's music to the audience before his concerts.

Billy Childish and his band Thee Headcoats released an EP of Reed covers, The Jimmy Reed Experience, for Get Hip Records in 1997.

Blue Öyster Cult played I Ain't Got You often in thei[17]r live shows in the mid Seventies. It was also included on their fourth album, On Your Feet or On Your Knees.



Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
U.S. Album
1953 "High and Lonesome"
b/w "Roll and Rhumba" (from I'm Jimmy Reed)
The Legend – The Man
1954 "Jimmie's Boogie"
b/w "I Found My Baby"
Non-album tracks
1955 "You Don't Have to Go"
b/w "Boogie in the Dark"
5 I'm Jimmy Reed
"I'm Gonna Ruin You"
b/w "Pretty Thing"
Non-album tracks
"I Don't Go for That"
b/w "She Don't Want Me No More"
1956 "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby"
b/w "Baby, Don't Say That No More" (from History of Jimmy Reed)
3 I'm Jimmy Reed
"Can't Stand to See You Go"
b/w "Rockin' with Reed" (from Rockin' with Reed)
"I Love You Baby"
b/w "My First Plea" (from I'm Jimmy Reed)
13 Non-album track
"You've Got Me Dizzy"
b/w "Honey Don't Let Me Go" (non-album track)
3 I'm Jimmy Reed
1957 "Little Rain" / 7
"Honey, Where You Going?" 10 Non-album track
"The Sun Is Shining"
b/w "Baby, What's on Your Mind" (from Rockin' with Reed)
12 65 The Best of Jimmy Reed
"Honest I Do"
b/w "Signals of Love" (non-album track)
4 32 I'm Jimmy Reed
1958 "You're Something Else"
b/w "A String to Your Heart" (from Rockin' with Reed)
"You Got Me Crying"
b/w "Go On to School"
"I'm Gonna Get My Baby"
b/w "Odds and Ends" (from Jimmy Reed with More of the Best)
5 Non-album track
"Down in Virginia"
b/w "I Know It's a Sin"
93 Rockin' with Reed
1959 "I Told You Baby"
b/w "Ends and Odds" (from Rockin' with Reed)
19 Blues Is My Business
"Take Out Some Insurance"
b/w "You Know I Love You" (from History of Jimmy Reed)
Rockin' with Reed
"I Wanna Be Loved"
b/w "Going to New York"
1960 "Baby What You Want Me to Do"
b/w "Caress Me Baby" (from Rockin' with Reed)
10 37 Found Love
"I Found Love"
b/w "Where Can You Be"
16 88
b/w "Going by the River", Part 2
18 75
1961 "Close Together"
b/w "Laughing At the Blues"
12 68 Now Appearing
"Big Boss Man"
b/w "I'm a Love You" (from Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall)
13 78 Found Love
"Bright Lights, Big City"
b/w "I'm Mr. Luck"
3 58 Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall
1962 "Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth"
b/w "Baby What's Wrong"
"Good Lover"
b/w "Tell Me You Love Me" (from Jimmy Reed At Carnegie Hall)
77 Just Jimmy Reed
"Too Much"
b/w "I'll Change My Style" (non-album track)
"Let's Get Together"
b/w "Oh John"
1963 "Shame, Shame, Shame"
b/w "There'll Be a Day"
52 T'aint No Big Thing but He Is
"Mary Mary"
b/w "I'm Gonna Help You"
"Outskirts of Town"
b/w "St. Louis Blues"
Jimmy Reed Sings the Best of the Blues
1964 "Help Yourself"
b/w "Heading for a Fall" (non-album track)
Jimmy Reed at Soul City
"Down in Mississippi"
b/w "Oh John" (from Just Jimmy Reed)
Jimmy Reed with More of the Best
"I'm Going Upside Your Head"
b/w "The Devil's Shoestring", Part 2
Jimmy Reed at Soul City
"I Wanna Be Love"
b/w "A New Leaf"
1965 "Left Handed Woman"
b/w "I'm The Man Down There" (from Jimmy Reed's Soul Greats)
"When Girls Do It"
b/w "Don't Think I'm Through"
Non-album tracks
1966 "Knockin' at Your Door"
b/w "Dedication to Sonny Boy Williamson"
39 Soulin'
"Cousin Peaches"
b/w "Crazy 'Bout Oklahoma"
"Got Nowhere to Go"
b/w "Two Ways to Skin (A Cat)"
The New Jimmy Reed Album
1967 "I Wanna Know"
b/w "Two Heads Better Than One"
"Don't Press Your Luck Woman"
b/w "Feel Like I Want to Ramble"
"Crazy About Oklahoma"
b/w "Buy Me a Hound Dog"
1968 "My Baby Told Me"
b/w "Peepin 'n Hidin" (from Soulin')
Big Boss Man
1969 "Don't Light My Fire"
b/w "The Judge Should Know"
Down in Virginia
1970 "Crying Blind"
b/w "Christmas Present Blues"
As Jimmy Is
"Hard Walkin' Hannah", Part 1
b/w "Hard Walkin' Hannah", Part 2
1971 "Big Legged Woman"
b/w "Funky Funky Soul"
"Cold Chills"
b/w "You're Just a Womper Stomper"
Let the Bossman Speak!


Selected albums

Year Album
1958 I'm Jimmy Reed
1959 Rockin' with Reed
1960 Found Love
Now Appearing
1961 Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall
1962 Just Jimmy Reed
1963 Jimmy Reed Plays 12 String Guitar Blues
Jimmy Reed Sings the Best of the Blues
T'Ain't No Big Thing but He Is...Jimmy Reed
1964 Jimmy Reed at Soul City
1965 The Legend: The Man
1967 The New Jimmy Reed Album/Soulin'
1968 Big Boss Man/Down in Virginia
1971 Found Love
1973 I Ain't from Chicago (Bluesway Records BLS-6054)
1974 Best of Jimmy Reed (GNP Crescendo GNPS-2-10006)
1976 Blues Is My Business
1980 I'm Going to Upside Your Head (compilation, Charly Records CRB 1003)
1985 I'm the Man Down There (compilation, Charly Records CRB 1082)

See also

  • Blues harp
  • List of blues musicians
  • List of people from Mississippi
  • List of people with epilepsy


  1. ^ a b "Jimmy Reed". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^ a b Jimmy Reed interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  4. ^ Koda, Cub. "Jimmy Reed: Biography". Retrieved 2015-08-31. 
  5. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1970s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-08-31. 
  6. ^ Richie Unterberger (1964-05-30). "The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hit Makers) – The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  7. ^ Fricke, David (December 13, 2016). "Review: The Rolling Stones Reinvigorate the Blues on Blue and Lonesome". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Bruce Eder. "Having a Rave Up – The Yardbirds: Songs, Reviews, Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  9. ^ Jack Rabid. "The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison – Them: Songs, Reviews, Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  10. ^ Lindsay Planer. "Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses) – Grateful Dead:; Songs, Reviews, Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Live Dates – Wishbone Ash | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  12. ^ Michael B. Smith. "Together – Live – Johnny & Edgar Winter | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  13. ^ Gilstrap, Andrew. "Popmatters website album review". Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  14. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings – Bill Cosby: Songs, Reviews, Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  15. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Sailor – Steve Miller Band: Songs, Reviews, Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  16. ^ "Living in the 20th Century – Steve Miller Band: Songs, Reviews, Credits". 1987-12-15. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  17. ^ On Your Feet or on Your Knees
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 369. 
  19. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 564. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 

External links

This page was last modified 28.01.2018 00:22:07

This article uses material from the article Jimmy Reed from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.