Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is considered by many to be the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music, both by other artists and commentators within the industry. His music is infinitely influential across a range of genres. He was born James Marshall Hendrix in 1942. He grew up a shy, sensitive boy who was bounced around between relatives and was placed in state care several times. He was tremendously affected by the conditions of neglect and poverty that plagued his childhood and early life. Hendrix began playing the guitar very early on in his life. He acquired his first guitar at the age of 15. What is perhaps most remarkable about Hendrix’s guitar skills is the fact that he is self-taught. He learned by practicing constantly, watching others play, listening to records, and through tips from more experienced guitarists.

Jimi Hendrix Live Video – Hey Joe (playing with his teeth)

Jimi Hendrix Live Video -All Along The Watchtower (1970′s)

Jimi Hendrix was influenced in his music by Elvis Presley, whom he saw perform in 1957 in Seattle, as well as Little Richard, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. Comically, Hendrix’s first performance came in the basement of a synagogue. He was fired between sets because of too much showing off and wild playing. Hendrix did not graduate high school and was expelled because of poor grades and attendance problems. He later ran into trouble with the law and was given the choice of two years in prison or joining the Army. He chose the latter and met bassist Billy Cox whom he would play with and remained friends with his whole life. After the Army they played in obscure spots in Tennessee. Hendrix decided to try his luck performing in New York City and won an amateur night contest at the famed Apollo Theater.

From there Hendrix teamed up with two English musicians, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell to form the iconic Jimi Hendrix Experience. They gained international success while performing from the UK but by 1965 still did not have much success in the United States. They caught a break and were included in the Monterey International Pop Festival which immortalized Hendrix’s iconic burning and smashing of his guitar at the end of his performances.

By 1969 Hendrix had begun to have more success and headlined the immortal Woodstock Festival later that year. The climax of his two hour set, the longest of his career, was his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as a guitar solo. It is now an iconic recording and is widely viewed as a special symbol of the 1960s. Jimi Hendrix is clearly one of the important and iconic artists of our time and will always be highly regarded in the music industry.