Saturday, September 17, 2011
Guitarist Jimi Hendrix dies at the age of 28, following a drug overdose in London.
Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942. He grew up playing guitar, imitating blues greats like Muddy Waters as well as early rockers. He joined the army in 1959 and became a paratrooper but was honorably discharged in 1961 after an injury that exempted him from duty in Vietnam. In the early 1960s, Hendrix backed such musicians as Little Richard, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, and Sam Cooke. He moved to New York in 1964, where he played in coffeehouses.
It was at one of these coffeehouse gigs that British bassist Bryan Chandler of the Animals first heard Hendrix play. Chandler arranged to manage Hendrix and brought him to London in 1966, where they created the Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. The band's first single, "Hey Joe," hit No. 6 on the British pop charts, and the band became an instant sensation.
In 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience made its first U.S. appearance, at the Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix made a splash by burning his guitar. In the next two years, the band released classic songs like "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady," and "The Wind Cries Mary." The band's albums included Are You Experienced? (1967), Bold as Love(1969), and Electric Ladyland (1969).
After the band dissolved in 1969 over creative tensions, Hendrix made his famous appearance at Woodstock, playing a masterful, intricate version of "The Star Spangled Banner." Later that year, he put together a new group called the Band of Gypsies, which debuted on New Year's Eve, 1969. The band released only one album, Band of Gypsies (1969). (A second album, Band of Gypsies II, was released in 1986.) Hendrix then recorded another album, without the band, called The Cry of Love, which was released in 1971. Jimi Hendrix played his last concert in August 1970, at the Isle of Wight Festival in Britain.
James Marshall Hendrix
November 27th, 1942 - September 18, 1970
Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix pioneered the explosive possibilities of the electric guitar. Hendrix's innovative style of combining fuzz, feedback and controlled distortion created a new musical form. Because he was unable to read or write music, it is nothing short of remarkable that Jimi Hendrix's meteoric rise in the music took place in just four short years. His musical language continues to influence a host of modern musicians, from George Clinton to Miles Davis, and Steve Vai to Jonny Lang.
Jimi Hendrix, born Johnny Allen Hendrix at 10:15 a.m. on November 27, 1942, at Seattle's King County Hospital, was later renamed James Marshall by his father, James "Al" Hendrix. Young Jimmy (as he was referred to at the time) took an interest in music, drawing influence from virtually every major artist at the time, including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Holly, and Robert Johnson. Entirely self-taught, Jimmy's inability to read music made him concentrate even harder on the music he heard.