Jimi Hendrix

The Master of the electric guitar, Jimi Hendrix is the greatest and most influential guitarist in music history. He was a true musical genius in the studio and during live performances. Those who worked with him and those who saw him perform speak of him in awe. A natural virtuoso Hendrix expanded the sounds of the electric guitar, blues, and rock and roll music. Hendrix was a very quiet and shy child and would draw to escape his troubled childhood. His mother died when he was only 15 years old and his father was a hard-working and stern man. Shortly after Hendrix dropped out of high school, he joined the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, but Hendrix was more interested in music and less interested in the army. Eventually, he was released by the army and started performing around the chitlin’ circuit with Billy Cox, his army buddy and future bassist for the Band of Gypsy. Hendrix played briefly with Little Richard’s back-up band but was fired by Little Richard when Richard felt Hendrix’s wild playing and looks were too much competition.

Hendrix eventually moved to New York to try his luck with the music scene there. He played in a number of clubs, even meeting his idol, Bob Dylan. He had some minor success in New York performing under the name of Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. While performing at the Café Wha?, Hendrix was noticed by Linda Keith, Keith Richards’s girlfriend at the time, and after a few other producers passed on Hendrix, Linda strongly recommended Chas Chandler to come and see Hendrix. Chandler did and liked what he saw. He signed Hendrix to a contract and flew him to Europe to start his career. Once in England, Hendrix career thrived and he became very popular. Other popular guitarist like Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend were astonished when they saw Hendrix playing the guitar. Townshend has stated, “He thought his career was over after seeing Hendrix play the guitar”. Once he took England by storm, Hendrix focused on America; he came back home and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival where he lit up the stage, literally and figuratively. He sat his guitar and the world on fire with not only his wild stage act but also his exceptionally brilliant guitar playing. After Monterey, Hendrix career took off like a shooting star, he became one of the biggest acts of the 1960’s performing as the top act in a number of sold out concerts and festivals.

He recorded three successful albums, Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland. After the Experience broke up he formed the Band of Gypsys, his back-up band during his historical performance at the Woodstock Festival. Hendrix died on September 18, 1970. Who knows what he would have accomplished if he had lived, but what we do know is that he accomplished more in his brief three-year career than most artists. A left-handed guitarist who restrung right-hand guitars and played upside down and backwards, Hendrix took full advantage of feedback, distortion and huge amplifiers to get that unique and profound sound. Hendrix’s guitar playing, musical techniques and talent is unmatched and his legacy lives on through numerous posthumous releases, artists and fans.

Jimi Hendricks Quotes

On dying:
“When I die, just keep playing the records.”

On the dead:
“It’s funny how most people love the dead. Once you’re dead you’re made for life.”

On his guitar:
“The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.”