Contact us today!
James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 in Seattle. Died September 18, 1970).
Few would argue that Jimi Hendrix is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Labelled by some as “noise”, his visionary experimentation with feedback and distortion ushered in a new wave of electric guitar instrumentation, which continues to have a profound effect on artists today.
A fan of blues and rock and roll, Hendrix taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 15, encouraged by his father. He received his first electric guitar two years later – being left handed, he had to turn the instrument upside down to play! His early influences included Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, and Eddie Cochran. Later in his career, Hendrix was influenced by Bob Dylan.
After his discharge from the US Army in 1962, Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, where he backed for Little Richard and others. But his career really started to take off in 1966 when he moved to England, nailing three UK top ten hits within three months with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hey Joe, Purple Haze, and The Wind Cries Mary).
See the Official UK Charts – Jimi Hendrix
His US fame began the following year with his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. In 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the US; this was to be his most commercially successful release as well as his first and only number one album.
In 1969, Hendrix headlined Woodstock, where his unconventional rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” caught international attention and is still acclaimed to this day.
One year later, on September 18, 1970, Hendrix tragically died from barbiturate-related asphyxia. He was 27.
The Hendrix style
It seems naff to describe Hendrix’s playing as a “style”. He was in fact a pioneer of sound, using his technical mastery of the guitar and the sounds he could produce with distortion and feedback to break new musical ground.
“Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began.” – Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone
Think Hendrix, think riff – (Purple Haze, Foxy Lady, and Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Child (Slight Return). But Hendrix is also credited with cementing the use of the wah-wah pedal, which he first heard used with an electric guitar in Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses”, released in May 1967. This was to become a signature sound for Hendrix.
Hendrix is known for his wailing rock. But, with influences from genres including blues and rock and roll, Hendrix also created beautiful balladry (The Wind Cries Mary Angel, Red House and Voodoo Child.
In 1999, Rolling Stone and Guitar World readers ranked Hendrix one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.
Hendrix received several Hall of Fame Grammy awards (his original composition “Purple Haze”, his recording of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower“, and albums Are You Experienced, Electric Ladyland, and Axis: Bold as Love). His rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was honoured with a Grammy in 2009.
Other awards/recognition includes:
1967- voted Melody Maker’s Pop Musician of the Year
1968 – declared Rolling Stone’s Performer of the Year
1969 – World Top Musician of 1969 (Disc & Music Echo newspaper)
1970 – named Guitar Player magazine’s Rock Guitarist of the Year
1992 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and number six on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
©  — Blues Rock Legends