Jimmy Reed was an American blues musician and songwriter born on September 6, 1925, in Dunleith, Mississippi. He is widely considered one of the most influential figures in the development of blues and electric blues. Reed’s unique style, characterized by his signature phrasing and smooth, laid-back vocals, had a significant impact on the development of rock and roll and continues to inspire musicians to this day.
Reed began playing the guitar at a young age and was influenced by the music of blues legends such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. By the 1940s, he had moved to Chicago, where he established himself as a successful blues musician and recording artist. His first recordings were made in 1951, and in 1953 he signed with the Vee-Jay label, which would go on to release many of his most famous recordings.
One of the defining features of Reed’s music was his use of the amplified harmonica, which he played through a small amplifier. This gave his music a distinctive sound that set it apart from the traditional acoustic blues of the time. He also used a steady, driving beat and simple, repetitive lyrics that emphasized his smooth, laid-back vocals, which he sang in a distinctive, drawling style.
Reed’s first hit single, “Baby What You Want Me to Do,” was released in 1959, and it went on to become one of his most famous and enduring songs. The song was a hit on both the R&B and pop charts and helped to establish Reed as a major figure in the blues world. Over the next few years, he released a series of successful albums and hit singles, including “Big Boss Man,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” and “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby.”
Despite his commercial success, Reed’s life was plagued by personal problems and legal troubles. He suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction, which often caused him to miss concerts and recording sessions. He also had a series of run-ins with the law, including arrests for drug possession and public drunkenness. Despite these setbacks, he continued to tour and record music until his death in 1976.
Reed’s influence on the blues and popular music cannot be overstated. His unique style and smooth, relaxed delivery had a major impact on the development of electric blues and rock and roll. His music was covered by many famous musicians, including Elvis Presley, Jimmie Vaughan, Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones and many others.His songs have been used in films, television shows, and commercials. He has been honored with numerous awards and inductions into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Reed was a legendary blues musician and songwriter whose unique style and smooth, relaxed vocals had a significant impact on the development of blues and rock and roll. Despite the personal problems and legal troubles that plagued his life, he remained an important and influential figure in the world of music, and his music continues to inspire musicians and fans to this day.