Big Boss Man (song)
|"Big Boss Man"|
|Single by Jimmy Reed|
|from the album Found Love|
|B-side||"I'm a Love You"|
|Format||7" 45 rpm record|
March 29, 1960
|Label||Vee-Jay (Cat. no. 380)|
|Writer(s)||Luther Dixon, Al Smith|
|Jimmy Reed singles chronology|
"Big Boss Man" is a blues song written by Luther Dixon and Al Smith in 1960 and first recorded by Jimmy Reed. The song was a hit for Reed and has been interpreted and recorded by a variety of artists, including Elvis Presley and B.B. King, who had record chart successes with the song.
"Big Boss Man" is an uptempo twelve-bar blues shuffle that features "one of the most influential Reed grooves of all time." It was written by Jimmy Reed's manager, Al Smith, and Vee-Jay Records staff writer, Luther Dixon. The song is one of the few Reed hits that was written by someone other than Reed and his wife. Backing Reed (vocal, harmonica, and guitar) are Mamma Reed (vocal), Lee Baker and Lefty Bates (guitars), Willie Dixon (bass), and Earl Phillips (drums).
"Big Boss Man" was originally released on Jimmy Reed's 1960 album Found Love. In 1961, it was released as a single and reached No. 13 in the Billboard R&B chart and No. 78 in the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.
Elvis Presley versions
On September 10, 1967, Elvis Presley recorded a version of "Big Boss Man." It was released as a single the same month and reached No. 38 on the pop chart. He performed the song as part of a medley during the Elvis 1968 Comeback Special, which also appears in the award winning mini-series Elvis. During the 1970s, Presley often performed the song in concert.
"Big Boss Man," as with several Jimmy Reed songs, has appeal across popular music genres. Some of the artists who have recorded the song include The Pretty Things as a B-side to their debut single "Rosalyn" (1964), Charlie Rich as the title track of his album Big Boss Man (1965) and also his 1970 album "Boss Man," Jerry Lee Lewis from his album Memphis Beat (1966), Bill Cosby from Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings (1967), Bobbie Gentry from The Delta Sweete (1968), Grateful Dead from Grateful Dead (1971), B.B. King from Six Silver Strings (1985), and as a single which reached #62 in R&B chart, Steve Miller Band from Living in the 20th Century (1986), Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers from Playback (1995), Junior Reid from the film Office Space (1999), and The Kentucky Headhunters from Big Boss Man (2005). Also in 2005 Tito Jackson covered this song.
- Koda, Cub (2000). The Very Best of Jimmy Reed – liner notes. Rhino Records. p. 14. Rhino R2 79802.
- Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 346. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
- Koda, Cub. "Big Boss Man – Song Review". allmusic. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- Jerry Lee Lewis, Memphis Beat Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- "Blues Hall of Fame – 1990 Inductees". Classic of Blues Recording – Single or Album Track. The Blues Foundation. 1990. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.