This lesson will investigate the saga of the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Within his short lifespan, he made a favorable impression on the music scene that led him to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington on November 27, 1942. He was not always known as Jimi Hendrix. In 1946, his father renamed him from Johnny Allen Hendrix to James ‘Jimmy’ Marshall Hendrix. It wasn’t until the Jimi Hendrix Experience formed that Hendrix changed the spelling of his name to ‘Jimi.’ At the age of 15, Hendrix picked up the acoustic guitar for the first time, which his father purchased for $5.
Hendrix was influenced by the greats of the blues era, such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King.Hendrix went on and formed his first band, the Velvetones. It was during that time that he found he couldn’t be heard over the crowd and deemed it necessary to get an electric guitar instead. At the age of 19, Hendrix joined the Army, only to be released a year later.
Once out of the Army, he took on the stage name Jimmy James and went on to perform as a backup musician with various acts, such as the Isley Brothers, Curtis Knight & the Squires, Little Richard, and Sam Cooke.It was in 1966 that his talents began to emerge as a frontman, and soon, a band was formed around him called the ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience,’ showcasing his talent for guitar and showmanship onstage. It was at the Monterey International Pop Festival where the stunt of Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire brought him national attention. By 1969 – the same year as Woodstock – Hendrix was the highest-paid musician in the world. Renowned for his rendition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ it became a landmark piece in defining Woodstock.
Sadly, Hendrix had an addiction to drugs and alcohol, and on September 18, 1970, he died from an inhalation of vomit following an overdose of barbiturates at the age of 27. However, he left a lasting impact on rock and roll, blues, and jazz.
Three UK top ten hits from the Jimi Hendrix Experience were ‘Purple Haze,’ ‘Hey Joe,’ and ‘The Wind Cries Mary.
‘ The band’s first album, Are You Experienced?, (1967) reached number two in the UK and spent eight months on the British charts. Hendrix’s signature song at Woodstock was ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ which posthumously received a Grammy. Finally, his album, Electric Ladyland (1968) reached number one on the Billboard charts.
Although Hendrix could not read or write music, he taught himself how to play the guitar as a teenager.
He also began to use stereo phasing, which is using directional sound that creates a sound of two instruments. He also used amplifier feedback, intentionally, as part of his signature guitar playing. During his lifetime, Hendrix received a number of awards. Some were given posthumously.
In 1968, he was Rolling Stone’s Performer of the Year and Billboard’s Artist of the Year. Three of his albums (Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland) were ranked among the 500 greatest of all time, according to Rolling Stone. In the 1990s, Hendrix was given a star on the Walk of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1992, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Born on November 27, 1942, Jimi Hendrix started playing the guitar as a teenager.
Not suited for a life in the Army, he was discharged, and he went on to play as a backup musician for numerous acts, like the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. However, his desire was to be the main focal point in the act. In the Monterey International Pop Festival, he set his guitar on fire and became an instant legend. By 1969, he was the highest paid musician. He died the following year due to vomit inhalation after an overdose of barbiturates.
However, his music continued to gain notoriety and earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award even after his death.