Jimi Hendrix was a rock music legend and one of the most talented guitarists of all time. He was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington to James Allen Ross Hendrix and Lucille Jeter. His parents had a tempestuous relationship and Hendrix and his siblings were raised in difficult circumstances. He was often left in the care of relatives and acquaintances while his parents neglected their duties. From an early age, Hendrix was crazy about music.
His favorite genre was blues and he often used to carry a broom with him, pretending that it was a guitar as he couldn’t afford to buy a real one. He first learnt to play a broken ukulele which had only one string. At the age of 15, his father relented to his endless yearning and bought him an acoustic guitar for $5. He taught himself to play by listening to other musicians such as Elvis Presley. His father bought him his first electric guitar in 1959. Hendrix joined a few small time bands and began to perform with them.
At the age of 19, he joined the army in order to avoid jail time for riding in stolen cars. He spent a little over a year there and was discharged in June 1962. During his service, he met fellow musician Billy Cox and the two began performing together. They moved to Tennessee and formed a band called “the King Kasuals”. He also performed as a backup guitarist for several performers as Little Richard, Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers. His first big break came in 1966 when he met Chas Chandler, a member of a successful rock group called the Animals. Chandler became Hendrix’s manager and advised him to move to London.
In London, Hendrix met Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell with whom he created his first successful band called “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. Hendrix gained great fame there and became well known with the most successful and popular musicians such as The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. The band’s first single was “Hey Joe” from their debut album “Are You Experienced” and it was a huge success. This was immediately followed by other hits such as “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cried Mary”.
They began to tour to promote their album and Hendrix’s stage personality and unbeatable guitar playing won him scores of fans. One of his most memorable performances was at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, at the end of which, Hendrix lit his guitar on fire. The band’s second album was titled “Axis: Bold as Love” and it was released in 1968 to critical acclaim. Their third and final album was “Electric Ladyland” released in 1968 which featured the smash hit “All Along the Watchtower” written by Bob Dylan. They continued to tour but broke up in 1969.
After leaving “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”, Hendrix formed a short lived band called “Band of Gypsys” in 1969 with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. They never achieved success and Hendrix moved on to begin recording a solo album titled “First Rays of the New Rising Sun”. Before the album was completed and released, Hendrix died of a drug overdose at the age of 27 on September 18, 1970. Despite his short career, Jimi Hendrix is still remembered as a rock legend and a sensational guitarist. His performance of the American national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 has been labeled as No.1 in the list of 100 greatest guitar performances in history.