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September 06

Jimmy Reed

One measure of Jimmy Reed's crossover appeal is the frequent appearance of his songs on both the rhythm and blues and pop charts.

Photo by Micheal Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

1925: Bluesman Jimmy
Jimmy Reed is born in Dunleith, Mississippi

With his harmonica slung around his neck and his electric guitar in his grip, Jimmy Reed sang the blues like nobody else had before. Like the words he typically sang in his distinctive singing style, his music kind of loped along, even as it set listeners’ toes tapping.

Writing songs covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Reed captured everyday people’s joy and pain in songs like “Ain’t That Loving You Baby” and “Bright Lights, Big City.” These tunes, simple at first listen, hooked you with their melodies and with the emotion with which Reed delivered them. His music, honest and catchy, brought the blues to a whole new audience.

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