Big Boss Man
Composer: Al Smith / Luther Dixon

Big Boss Man was first performed by the Grateful Dead in 1966. The song was a sporadic part of the repertoire. The only regular period of performance was between 1969 and 1972 during which time it was played over 40 times. After this period the song disappeared for spells and reappeared for usually ony 1 or 2 performances in some years. The last performance was in 1995.

The song was also performed by a group that included Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Leon Russell, Mary Egan and Doug Sahm on November 23, 1972. It was also played by the Other Ones, Furthur, The Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Phil Lesh Trio, Ratdog, Dead & Company, Kingfish and the Weir/Robinson/Greene Trio.

The song was first recorded by Jimmy Reed and was first released by him on an album and on a single in 1960. The song has become so associated with Reed that he is credited as the composer on some later recordings.

Grateful Dead

info Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses), 1971
info The Golden Road (1965-1973), 2001
info Steppin' Out with the...: England '72, July 2002
info View From The Vault III, 2002
info View From The Vault III (DVD), 2002
info History Of The Grateful Dead, Vol. 1, 2003 (exp CD)
info The Birth Of The Dead, 2003
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 35, 2005
info Grateful Dead Download Vol. 2: 1/18/70, 2005
info Road Trips: Vol 1, No. 3: Summer 1971 Bonus CD, 2008
info Europe '72, The Complete Recordings, 2011
info Europe '72: London, 4/7/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Newcastle, 4/11/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Copenhagen, 4/14/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Hamburg, 4/29/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Paris, 5/4/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Bickershaw Festival, 5/7/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: Amsterdam, 5/10/1972, 2011
info Europe '72: London, 5/25/1972, 2011
info Winterland 30th May 1971, 2012
info Live Albums Collection, 2013
info Complete Live Rarities Collection, 2013
info Birth Of The Dead, Vol. 2 (The Live Sides), 2014
info Dave's Picks Vol 14: Academy Of Music, 3/26/72, 2015
info 30 Trips Around The Sun Box Set, 2015
info The Grateful Dead (50th Anniv Deluxe CD), 2017
info Dave's Picks Vol 22: New York, 12/7/71, 2017
info July 29, 1966, 2017
info Dave's Picks Vol 26: Albuquerque, 11/17/71, 2018
info Dave's Picks Vol 30: Fillmore East, 2/1/70, 2019
info American Beauty 50th Anniv. Deluxe Ed, 2020
info Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses) 50th Anniv. Ed., 2021
info Listen to the River: St. Louis '71 '72 '73, 2021
info Lyceum '72: The Complete Recordings, 2022
info Dave's Picks Volume 43: 11/2/69 & 12/26/69, 2022
info Wembley Empire Pool, 4/7/1972, 2022

The Dead

info Columbia, MD, June 18, 2003
info Vernon, NY, June 29, 2003
info Phoenix, AZ, June 22, 2004
info Scranton, PA, August 4, 2004
info Dead '09: Charlottesville, VA, April 15, 2009


info October 7, 2012, Santa Barbara, CA

Dead & Company

info DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI, 07 July, 2016
info Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA, 26 July, 2016
info Salt Lake City, UT, 7 Jun, 2017
info Boston, MA, 17 Jun, 2017
info Camden, NJ, 25 Jun, 2017
info Chula Vista, CA, 6 July, 2018
info Los Angeles, CA, 28 Dec, 2019
info Bethel, NY, July 1, 2022
info Burgettstown, PA, June 5, 2023


info Live Oak FL: October 11, 2003
info Baltimore MD: October 20, 2003
info Poughkeepsie NY: October 26, 2003
info Chicago IL: November 4, 2003
info Des Moines IA: November 13, 2003
info Las Vegas NV, February 25, 2004
info San Francisco CA, March 3, 2004
info Seattle WA, March 8, 2004
info Park City UT, March 13, 2004
info Washington, March 30, 2004
info Tulsa OK, September 15, 2004
info Las Vegas NV, February 6, 2005
info Royal Oak MI, April 2, 2005
info Frederick MD, April 11, 2005
info Norfolk VA, April 29, 2005
info Cleveland, OH, November 1, 2005
info Orlando, FL, November 20, 2005
info Denver, CO, December 2, 2005
info Danbury, CT, March 20, 2006
info Poughkeepsie, NY, March 28, 2006
info Morrison, CO, July 2, 2006
info Philadelphia, PA, July 11, 2006
info Baltimore, MD, August 25, 2006
info Columbus OH, October 26, 2006
info Albany NY, November 3, 2006
info Jacksonville FL, November 14, 2006
info Portland OR, February 16, 2007
info New York NY, March 9, 2007
info Athens GA, March 22, 2007
info Columbus OH, July 17, 2007
info Albany, NY, November 3, 2007
info St. Paul, MN, March 21, 2008
info San Diego, CA, July 2, 2008
info Saratoga Springs, NY, August 19, 2008
info Washington, DC, November 6, 2008
info Masontown, WV, July 10, 2009
info Hampton Beach, NH, July 24, 2009
info Upper Darby, PA, October 17, 2009

Weir/Robinson/Greene Trio

info June 3, 2012, Mishawaka Amphitheatre, Bellvue, CO, 2012

Phil Lesh & Friends

info Love Will See You Through, Highlights Volume One, 1999
info Instant Live: June 25, 2006, Atlanta, GA, 2006
info Instant Live: July 3, 2006, Hartford, CT, 2006

Other recordings

info Found Love, Jimmy Reed, 1960
no info Single (Big Boss Man / I'm A Love You), Jimmy Reed, 1960 (Vee-Jay 380)
no info Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Mance Lipscomb, 1960
info Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall, Jimmy Reed , 1961
info Best Of Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Reed, 1961
no info Teen Delights, Volume 2, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1961
no info Hey Boss Man, Frank Frost, 1962
no info 12 String Guitar Blues, Jimmy Reed, 1963
no info You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet Until You've Heard the Shacklefords, The Shacklefords, 1963
no info Soul Meeting Saturday Night Hootennanny Style, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1963
no info Gene Chandler, 1964
no info Everything Is A-OK!, The Astronauts, 1964
no info The Legend, The Man, Jimmy Reed, 1964
no info Single (Big Boss Man / I'm A Love You), Jimmy Reed, 1964
no info Live at the Whiskey a Go-Go, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1964
no info WBLK Souvenir Album Featuring Hound Dog's Old Gold - Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1964
no info The Pretty Things, The Pretty Things, 1965
info So Many Roads, John Hammond, 1965
no info Texas Songster, Live, Vol. 3, Mance Lipscomb, 1965
no info Fused!, Dave Davani, 1965
info Little Girl, Syndicate Of Sound, 1966
no info The New Jimmy Reed Album, Jimmy Reed, 1967
no info We Want Your Love, Pretty Things, 1967
no info Clambake, Elvis Presley, 1967
no info Memphis Beat, Jerry Lee Lewis, 1967
no info Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings, Bill Cosby, 1967
no info Single (Big Boss Man / Didn't Catch The Dog's Bone), Erma Franklin, 1967
no info Big Boss Man, Jimmy Reed, 1968
no info The Delta Sweete, Bobbie Gentry, 1968
no info Down In Virginia, Jimmy Reed, 1969
no info Greatest Songs Of Jimmy Reed, Buddy Rogers, 196?
no info Early in the Morning, Mac Curtis, 1971
no info Attention, The Pretty Things, 1971
no info 100 Hall of Fame Oldies, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1972
no info The Ultimate Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Reed, 1973
no info South Side Lady, Koko Taylor, 1973
no info The Session, Jerry Lee Lewis, 1973
no info 20 Great Hits, Conway Twitty, 1973
no info 20 Soulful Oldies, Vol 3, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1973
no info The Best of John Hammond, John Hammond, 1974
no info Spoonful, Jimmy Witherspoon, 1975
info Big Boss Man: Memorial Album Vol. 1, Jimmy Reed, 1976
no info Open All Nite, The Nighthawks, 1976
no info Rock 'n' Country, Freddy Fender, 1976
info Loving Is Why, The Sons of Champlin, 1977
no info The Best of Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Reed, 1977
no info The Beginning of Jazz-Rock, Graham Bond Organisation, 1977
no info Down Home Rockabilly, Sleepy LaBeef, 1978
no info At The Beginning, Graham Bond Organisation, 1978
no info Graham Bond Organisation, Graham Bond Organisation, 1979
no info Upside Your Head, Jimmy Reed, 1980
no info Bye Bye Blues, The Blues Band, 1983
no info Eric Burdon & the Animals, The Animals, 1983
no info Live at Heartbreak Hotel, The Pretty Things, 1984
no info Sweet Bitter Blues, Cephas & Wiggins, 1984
no info Blue Rhythms, Elvis Presley, 1984
info Alive In '85, Kingfish, 1985
no info Vee Jay Blues, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1985
no info Six Silver Strings, B. B. King, 1985
no info Big Boss Blues, Jimmy Reed, 1986
info Livin' In The 20th Century, Steve Miller Band, 1986
no info Hits from the Legendary Vee Jay Records, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1986
no info Blues, Moses Rascoe, 1987
info Double Dose, Kingfish, 1988
no info Bright Lights, Big City, Jimmy Reed, 1988
no info Live At Klooks Kleek, Graham Bond Organisation, 1977
no info Everything Is A-OK!/Astronauts Orbit Campus, The Astronauts, 1989
info Golden Oldies, Vol. 4, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1989
no info Texas Songster, Mance Lipscomb, 1990
info Another Way To Find You, Chris Smither, 1990
no info Jelly Roll King, Frank Frost, 1990
no info Child Bride, Katy Moffat, 1990
no info Heavy Juice, Greg Piccolo, 1990
no info Inside Looking Out: The 1965-1966 Sessions, The Animals, 1990
no info Single (Big Boss Man / Duke of Earl), Jimmy Reed / Gene Chandler, 1990
no info Blues Is Alright, Vol. 3, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1990
no info The Collectables Blues Collection, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1990
no info The Best of Mountain Stage Live ,Vol. 4, Various Artists (Holmes Brothers), 1991
no info Live at Liberty Hall, Houston, TX, 1972, Jimmy Reed & Johnny Winter, 1992
no info Get a Buzz: The Best of the Fontana Years, The Pretty Things, 1992
no info Golden Classics, Erma Franklin, 1993
no info A Mother Of An Anthology, Grandmothers, 1993
info From Nashville To Memphis, The Essential 60's Masters, Elvis Presley, 1993
no info Rockin' Daddy, Eddie Bond, 1993
no info Hard Corp, Hard Corps, 1993
no info Bluesmen, Cephas & Wiggins, 1993
no info Locked in a Dutch Coffeeshop, Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black, 1993
no info The Best of the Blues, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1993
no info Kings of Blues Guitars, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1993
no info Axemen: The First Cometh, Various Artists (Eric Clapton), 1993
info The Locust Years...And the Return to the Promised Land, Jerry Lee Lewis, 1994
no info Texas Blues Guitar, Mance Lipscomb, 1994
no info Country Girl, John Dee & Fris, 1994
no info Ladies Night Out, Various Artists (The Fantastic Shakers), 1994
no info Classic Recordings, Jimmy Reed, 1995
no info From the Board, Last Exit, 1995
no info Reality is the Only Answer, The Liberty Bell, 1995
no info Nothin' But the Blues: Blues from Chicago, Harvey Mandel & Barry Goldberg, 1995
no info Playback, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1995
info The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 1995
no info Charly Blues Masterworks, Vol. 17: Bright Lights, Big City, Jimmy Reed, 1996
no info Honest I Do & Other Classics, Jimmy Reed, 1996
no info Larger Than Life, Sleepy LaBeef, 1996
no info Anthology, The Fantastic Shakers, 1996
no info Broadcasting the Blues Live, Jay Gordon, 1996
no info Lost in the Shuffle, Jimmy Reed, 1997
no info A Heart Full of Blues, Tino Gonzales, 1997
no info Sting It Then!, Slim Harpo, 1997
no info The EP Collection, The Pretty Things, 1997
no info Cassette Recordings '87, Last Exit, 1997
no info Down & Depressed: Dangerous, Joe "Guitar" Hughes, 1997
no info Surfin' with the Astronauts/Everything Is A-OK!, The Astronauts, 1997
no info Rockin' Decade, Sleepy LaBeef, 1997
no info Blues Legends, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1997
no info Very Best of Sun Rockabilly, Various Artists (Eddie Bond), 1997
info Relix's Best of Blues, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Kingfish), 1997
no info His Greatest Recordings: Original Classic Series, Jimmy Reed, 1998
no info I Want to Boogie, Eddie Cusic, 1998
no info The Elvis Presley Collection: Rhythm & Blues, Elvis Presley, 1998
no info A Night at the Twist & Shout, Planet Rockers, 1998
no info Eric Clapton & Friends, Eric Clapton, 1998
no info Musically Rich...and Famous: Anthology 1967-1982, Alexis Korner, 1998
no info Killer Collection, Jerry Lee Lewis, 1998
no info Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain, Kenny Neal, 1998
no info Generations of Blues, Vol. 2: Born in Chicago, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1998
no info Golden Age of Blue Chicago, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1998
no info Boss Man, Jimmy Reed, 1999
no info Double Feature, Tino Gonzales, 1999
no info Artist of the Century, Elvis Presley, 1999
no info The Collection, Elvis Presley, 1999
no info Tomorrow Is a Long Time, Elvis Presley, 1999
info The Blotter Boys Live: Oh Yeah (Live At The Tremont), The Blotter Boys, 1999
no info Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll: The Very Best of Sleepy Labeef, Sleepy LaBeef, 1999
no info Big Boss Man: The Very Best of Frank Frost, Frank Frost, 1999
no info Bull Durham Blues, John Dee Holeman, 1999
no info Crazy Cajun's Cosmic Cowboys, Freddy Fender/Doug Sahm/Floyd Tillman, 1999
no info Absolutely the Best of the Blues, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 1999
info The Very Best of, Jimmy Reed, 2000
info EP Collection...Plus, Jimmy Reed, 2000
no info 20 Classic Tracks, Jimmy Reed, 2000
no info Ode to Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years, Bobbie Gentry, 2000
no info Best of the Vanguard Years, John Hammond, Jr., 2000
no info Talkin' Low: Rare Unissued Recordings 1966-1988, Jo Ann Kelly, 2000
no info Best of Artist of the Century, Elvis Presley, 2000
no info Parachute/Pretty Things/Cross Talk, The Pretty Things, 2000
no info Sacred Grounds, Chuck Alvarez, 2000
no info The Traditional Train, Harold Crosby, 2000
no info Live Style, Family Style, 2000
no info Motor City Mojo, Harmonica Shah, 2000
no info Best of Alexis Korner, Alexis Korner, 2000
no info Animalisms, The Animals, 2000 (Bonus track)
info Big Boss Man (Box set), Jimmy Reed, 2001
no info Big Boss Men, Willie Dixon & Jimmie Reed, 2001
no info Live in Las Vegas Box Set, Elvis Presley, 2001
no info The Legendary Group at Their Best, The Astronauts, 2001
no info Blue Suede Shoes Collection, Elvis Presley, 2001
no info Rhythm & Blues, Elvis Presley, 2001
no info The Rhythm & Blues Years, The Pretty Things, 2001
no info Hot Air, Steve Cohen & Jim Liban, 2001
no info Too Good to Be True, Hi Tide Harris, 2001
no info On the Move...Plus, Huw Lloyd Langton, 2001
no info Legends Collection: Eric Clapton Collection, Vol. 2, Eric Clapton, 2001
no info The Blues Box, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2001
no info The In Crowd: UK Mod R&B Beat,1964-1967, Various Artists (Graham Bond Organization), 2001
info The Blues Tribute To The Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 2001
no info Today, Tomorrow, & Forever, Elvis Presley, 2002
no info Singles A's & B's, The Pretty Things, 2002
no info Live, The Blues Band, 2002
no info Heart and Soul, David Cline, 2002
no info Fused! The Swinging Soul Sound of Dave Davani, Dave Davani, 2002
no info Memphis Barbecue Sessions, Big Jack Johnson with Kim Wilson, 2002
no info Studio Masters, Vol. 2, Good Rockin' Tonight, 2002
no info Black Rat Swing, Jo Ann Kelly, 2003
no info The BBC Sessions, The Pretty Things, 2003
no info Don't Bring Me Down: The Decca Years, The Animals, 2003
no info Sings the Blues, Nora Jean Bruso, 2003
no info Rockin' in the Same Old Boat, Johnny B. Moore, 2003
no info 1965-66 Blowing My Mind Plus, Goldberg-Miller Blues Band, 2003
no info Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2003
no info Best of Chicago Blues, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2003
no info Best of Vee-Jay Blues, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2003
no info Blues Story, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2003
no info Good Morning Bluesman, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2003
no info Fernwood Rhythm 'N' Blues from Memphis, Various Artists (Willie Cobbs), 2003
no info Be My Guest, The Blues Band, 2004
no info Blues & Gospel: Rare & Unreleased Recordings, Jo Ann Kelly, 2004
no info Most Famous Hits: The Album, Eric Clapton, 2004
no info She's So Respectable, Eric Clapton, 2004
no info Simple Truths, The Holmes Brothers, 2004
no info Back Home Blues: Every Day I Have the Blues, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2004
info The Essential Boss Man: The Very Best of the Vee-Jay Years, 1953-1966, Jimmy Reed, 2005
no info Live at the Sunset Strip: No Quarter Given, Jay Gordon, 2005
no info Screamin' The Blues, Hoochie Coochie Band, 2005
no info Big Boss Man, The Kentucky Headhunters, 2005
no info Country Songs for City Folk / Memphis Beat, Jerry Lee Lewis, 2005
no info Big Boss Man, Elvis Presley, 2005
no info Singing the Blues: 44 Blues Classics, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2005
no info The Past, Harold Crosby, 2006
no info The Delta Sweete/Local Gentry, Bobbie Gentry, 2006
no info Best of B.B. King, B.B. King, 2006
no info Let Yourself Go: The Making of Elvis the Comeback Special, Elvis Presley, 2006
no info Clambake (Special edition), Elvis Presley, 2006
no info Elvis R&B, Elvis Presley, 2006
no info Kings of Rock & Roll, Jerry Lee Lewis, 2006
no info Blues Legends Live, Sunnyland Slim & John Dee Holeman, 2006
no info Flying Under the Radar, The Kentucky Headhunters, 2006
no info Southern Nights, Elvis Presley, 2006
no info Chicago Blues Reunion, Barry Goldberg / Harvey Mandel/ Mike Bloomfield / Charlie Musselwhite, 2006
no info Blues from Chicago, Barry Goldberg, 2006
no info Blues Harp Meltdown, Vol. 3: Legends, Various Artists (Cephas & Wiggins), 2006
info Blues Gold, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2006
no info Live in L.A., Elvis Presley, 2007
no info The Essential Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley, 2007
no info Live at Carnegie Hall, Jimmy Reed, 2007
no info On the Jimmy Reed Highway, Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan, 2007
no info Vanguard Visionaries, John Hammond, Jr., 2007
no info Memphis Rockabilly King, Eddie Bond, 2007
no info I Met the Blues at Klook's Kleek, Graham Bond Organization, 2007
no info Let the Good Times Roll, Sam Carr's Delta Jukes, 2007
no info Vee-Jay: The Definitive Collection, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2007
no info Jack Daniel Time, T-Model Ford, 2008
info Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues, Part 3: 1960-1969, Various Artists (Jimmy Reed), 2012
info 10/30/14  New York, NY, The Infamous Stringdusters, 2014
info Live 1968, Electric Flag featuring Erma Franklin, 2015
info An Evening At TRI, Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir, 2017
info The Bodhisattva Blues, Reverend Freakchild, 2020

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