Jimmy Rogers has long been considered one of the most important and influential figures on the American blues scene. Jimmy is considered to have co-founded and developed the Chicago blues sound with his former band mate Muddy Waters - together they pioneered the sound that became known as "Chicago Blues" between 1947 and 1954.
Rogers was born in Ruleville, Mississippi in 1924. He taught himself how to play harmonica and guitar by listening to the records of popular artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie and to the radio performances of Sonny Boy Williamson and Joe Willie out of KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. In his late teens Rogers moved to Helena and then Memphis, where he played with Robert Jr. Lockwood and Robert Nighthawk. He then moved to St. Louis with Sunnyland Slim before settling in Chicago in 1947.
In 1954 Jimmy launched his recording career with Chess Records and went on to chart 13 tunes on the R&B charts. This track record puts him in the top 10 all time best sellers in the blues field. Some of his recognizable hits that have become the staple of blues bands around the world include "Chicago Bound," "That's Alright," "Ludella," "Walking By Myself," "Sloppy Drunk" and "The Last Time."
In the late 50's Rogers worked with Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson and fronted his own band on the Chicago club circuit.
Jimmy's career nearly ground to a halt in the mid-70's when his classic recordings went out of print and were unavailable to a new generation of record buyers. Thanks to numerous books and publications calling attention to the career of Jimmy Rogers and the reissuance of Jimmy's Chess products on a major label (MCA), a Grammy nomination and numerous W. C. Handy Awards, Jimmy's career is now bigger than ever.
Jimmy has been a major influence on numerous rock superstars. Eric Clapton called him, "one of my all-time great guitar heroes, one of my earliest influences." Keith Richards said, "I recognize myself in there between Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Rogers." And Mick Jagger offered, "The first time I heard Jimmy was when I was buying my first blues records and listening to Muddy Waters ... and eventually I found out that Jimmy was the guitarist on these records that I loved."
At the behest of Clapton and Jagger, Jimmy was flown to London in June of 1992 for a series of blues tribute shows. One performance had Jimmy with the Eric Clapton Band at the Wembley Soccer Stadium in front of 100,000 people, and the shows with the Rolling Stones took place at the world famous Hammersmith Odeon. Clips of both shows have been seen throughout the year on MTV and were a feature item in Rolling Stone magazine.
During the summer of 1993 Jimmy was a headliner in the famous Muddy Waters Tribute show which played to an audience of over 7,500 people on many dates. Recently the Jimmy Rogers Band has appeared on several nationally syndicated television and radio programs including NBC Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Dan Ackroyd's House of Blues Show.
In 1983 Jimmy recorded an album entitled Feelin' Good, which has been reissued on Blind Pig. Backed by the then-emerging harmonica player Rod Piazza and his Mighty Flyers, Rogers recreated his classic Chess sound and provided further testimony to his unabated ability and place in blues history.