Reed learned to play guitar with his friend Eddie Taylor. After he had a number of years locally occurred in 1943, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he joined the Navyduring the Second World War. In 1945, Reed fired and he went back to Mississippi for a short period, where he married his girlfriend. Before Mary "Mama" Reed moved toGary, Indiana , she worked at Armour & co.
During the 1950s had developed a considerable reputation as a popular artist Drove and got into the band "The Gary Kings" with John Brim. Reed failed to get a record deal of Chess Records, but later signed a contract with Vee-Jay Records. During his time at Vee-Jay Records Reed played together again with Eddie Taylor and soon after gave the song "You Don't Have To Go".The song was his first hit and many hits followed. Reed maintained his reputation, despite his alcoholism. Sometimes woman during his performances had to help him remember the lyrics to his songs. In 1957 got Reed epilepsy.
Although he scored many hits Drove by his personal problems are not the same constant level of similar talented blues artists in his time. When Vee-Jay Records stopped Already settled manager a contract with ABC Records, but Reed failed to score another hit.
In 1968 he toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival.
Reed died a few days before his 51st birthday. He was found by the manager/owner Steve Gordon of Savoy Tivoli, a concert venue in San Francisco and the American/Dutch blues musician Michael Daniel, who at Reed as guitarist in the group played. He is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Worth, Illinois.
|Year||Single||Hot R & B/Hip-Hop Songs||Billboard Hot 100|
|1956||Ain't That Lovin' You Baby||No. 3||-|
|1956||Can't Stand to See You Go||No. 10||-|
|1956||I Don't Go for That||No. 12||-|
|1956||I Love You Baby||No. 13||-|
|1957||Honest I Do||No. 4||No. 32|
|1957||Honey, Where You Going?||No. 10||-|
|1957||Little Rain||No. 7||-|
|1957||The Sun is Shining||No. 12||No. 65|
|1958||Down in Virginia||-||No. 93|
|1959||I Told You Baby||No. 19||-|
|1960||Baby, What You Want Me to Do||No. 10||No. 37|
|1960||Found Love||No. 16||No. 88|
|1960||Hush-Hush||No. 18||No. 75|
|1961||Big Boss Man||No. 13||No. 78|
|1961||Bright Lights, Big City||No. 3||No. 58|
|1961||Close Together||-||No. 68|
|1962||Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth||-||No. 93|
|1962||Good Lover||-||No. 77|
|1963||Shame, Shame, Shame||-||No. 52|
|1958||I'm Jimmy Reed|
|1959||Rockin' With Reed|
|1961||Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall|
|1962||Just Jimmy Reed|
|1963||Jimmy Reed Plays 12 String Guitar Blues|
|1963||Jimmy Reed Sings The Best Of The Blues|
|1963||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|
|1974||Best Of Jimmy Reed|
|1976||Blues Is My Business|