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Famous Like Me > Composer > R > Jimmy Reed

Profile of Jimmy Reed on Famous Like Me

Name: Jimmy Reed  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 6th September 1925
Place of Birth: Leland, Mississippi, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Jimmy Reed

James "Jimmy" Mathis Reed (September 6, 1925 - August 29, 1976) was an important United States blues singer notable for bringing his distinctive style of blues to mainstream audiences. Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries.

Jimmy Reed was born in Dunleith, Mississippi in 1925, learning the harmonica and guitar from Eddie Taylor, a close friend. After spending several years performing in the area, Reed moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1943 before being drafted into the United States Navy during World War II. In 1945, Reed was discharged and moved back to Mississippi for a brief period, marrying Mary "Mama" Reed before moving to Gary, Indiana to work at an Armour & Co. meat packing plant.

By the dawn of the 1950s, Reed had established himself as a popular local musician and joined the Gary Kings with John Brim, as well as playing on the street with Willie Joe Duncan. Reed failed to gain a contract with Chess Records, but then 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 song. This was followed by a long string of hits. Reed maintained his reputation, in spite of rampant alcoholism. Sometimes, his wife had to help him remember the lyrics to his songs while performing. In 1957, Reed developed epilepsy, though the disease was not correctly diagnosed for a long time, as Reed and doctors assumed it was delirium tremens.

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 any others. When Vee-Jay Records ceased operations, Reed's manager signed a contract with the fledgling ABC-Bluesway label, but Reed was never able to score another hit.

Jimmy Reed died in 1976 a few days short of his 51st birthday. He is interred in the Lincoln Cemetery in Worth, Illinois.

In 1991 Jimmy Reed was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Rolling Stones have cited Reed as a major influence on their sound, and one of the Stones' first recordings was their cover of Reed's "Honest I Do." His recording of "Big Boss Man" was voted one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Jimmy Reed