Jimi Hendrix

Quick Look At Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was a Black electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter who was one of the most influential of his time. He was the pinnacle for musical expression and he combined traditional genres and music styles to defy the limits of the electric guitar.

Early Life

Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. When he was 3 years old his father changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix. His mother was relatively young when she had him, so Hendrix would live with different relatives and acquaintances throughout his childhood. Hendrix's mother later died when he was 16 years old. Music became an escape for Hendrix, as he gained interest in blues and rock and roll. After cleaning, he'd strum the broom as if he was playing the guitar. His father encouraged him to teach himself how to learn how to play the guitar. When he was 16, Hendrix's father bought him an acoustic guitar. A year later, he bought him an electric guitar. Hendrix dropped out of high school in 1959 and followed his musical aspirations.


In 1961, Hendrix enlisted in the United States Army. He served until 1962 before being honorably discharged, but during this short time in the military, he still found room for his love for music. Hendrix created a band called the King Kasuals.

When he left the military, Hendrix worked as a freelance accompanist for musicians including but not limited to Sam Cooke, Little Richard, The Isley Brothers, and B.B. King. In 1965 he created his own music group that took on local gigs. Hendrix had a hard time finding higher-paying work due to his unorthodox style that was anything but traditional. In 1966, however, he was discovered by a British band member who became Hendrix's manager and convinced him to go to London. There, he created a group called the Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Hendrix did a lot better in London. He gained a following from famous musicians and groups like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Who, that admired his musical work. The Jimi Hendrix Experience's first single "Hey Joe" instantly became a Top Ten single. During a performance of the group's first album, "Are You Experienced?" in California, Hendrix caught the attention of and amazed Americans by setting fire to his guitar. His experimental and unorthodox sound as well as his extraordinary stage presence attracted many.

The band had two more albums that were both huge hits. Their final album together, Electric Ladyland, featured "All Along the Watchtower," a hit song written by Bob Dylan. After the band split up in 1969, Hendrix performed at the Woodstock Music Festival, the legendary music event that took place in New York that year. He played a "rockified" "The Star-Spangled Banner," yet again wowing crowds and proving his talent as a musician.

On September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died from drug-related complications at the ripe age of 27.

Though his life was a short one, his legacy should live forever, as Hendrix had an extremely lasting and impactful effect on music and entertainment.