Brim picked up his early guitar licks from the 78s of Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy before venturing first to Indianapolis in 1941 and Chicago four years later. He met his wife Grace in 1947; fortuitously, she was a capable drummer who played on several of John's records. She was the vocalist on a 1950 single for Detroit-based Fortune Records that signaled the beginning of Brim's discography.
John recorded for Random, JOB, Al Benson's Parrot logo (the socially aware "Tough Times"), and Chess. Cut in 1953, the suggestive "Ice Cream Man" had to wait until 1969 to enjoy a very belated release. Brim's last Chess single, "I Would Hate to See You Go," was waxed in 1956 with a combo consisting of harpist Little Walter, guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Fred Below.
After a hiatus of a few decades, Brim returned to the studio with a set for Tone-Cool Records, The Ice Cream Man. Brim, who lived in Gary, IN, remained active on the Chicago blues scene until his death on October 1, 2003 at the age of 81.