Jimmy Rogers was born in Ruleville, Mississippi and was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Rogers took up the guitar as a teenager and played professionally in East St. Louis, Illinois (where he played with Robert Jr Lockwood) before moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1947, after serving in the military.
Rogers joined Waters the next year, with whom he helped shape the sound of the nascent Chicago Blues style. He stayed in Waters' band until launching a solo career on Chess Records in 1954. Initially unsuccessful, he retired from music until 1971 when fashions made him a reasonable draw in Europe, and he was able to record again, including a 1977 session with Waters. He continues to record and tour.