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Hendrix performing during the Dutch television show, Hoepla, in 1967
|Birth name||Johnny Allen Hendrix|
|Born||November 27, 1942|
Seattle, Washington, US
|Died||September 18, 1970 (aged 27)|
Kensington, London, England
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, hard rock, blues rock|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Labels||Vee-Jay, RSVP, Track, Barclay, Polydor, Reprise, Capitol, MCA|
|Associated acts||The Isley Brothers, Little Richard, the Blue Flame, Curtis Knight and the Squires, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys|
Gibson Flying V
Hendrix performing during the Dutch television show, Hoepla, in 1967
|Birth name||Johnny Allen Hendrix|
|Born||November 27, 1942|
Seattle, Washington, US
|Died||September 18, 1970 (aged 27)|
Kensington, London, England
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, hard rock, blues rock|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Labels||Vee-Jay, RSVP, Track, Barclay, Polydor, Reprise, Capitol, MCA|
|Associated acts||The Isley Brothers, Little Richard, the Blue Flame, Curtis Knight and the Squires, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys|
Gibson Flying V
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Despite a relatively brief mainstream career spanning four years, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. His Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music."
Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the US Army; he was granted an honorable discharge the following year. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the chitlin' circuit, eventually earning a place in the Isley Brothers' backing band and later finding work with Little Richard, with whom he continued to play through mid-1965. He then joined Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after having been discovered by bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals. Within months, Hendrix had earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary". He achieved fame in the US after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the US. The double LP was Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his first and only number one album. He headlined the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 as the world's highest-paid performer before dying from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.
Hendrix was inspired musically by American rock and roll and electric blues. He favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain, and was instrumental in developing the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback. He helped to popularize the use of a wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock, and was the first artist to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone commented: "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."
Hendrix was the recipient of several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year and in 1968, Billboard named him the Artist of the Year and Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked their three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.
Jimi Hendrix's mixed genealogy included African American, Irish, and Cherokee ancestors. His paternal great-great-grandmother Zenora was a full-blooded Cherokee from Georgia who married an Irishman named Moore. They had a son Robert, who married an African American girl named Fanny. In 1883, Robert and Fanny had a daughter whom they named Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, Hendrix's paternal grandmother.[nb 1] The illegitimate son of a black slave woman, also named Fanny, and her white overseer, Hendrix's paternal grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix (born 1866), was named after his biological father, a grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio, and one of the wealthiest white men in the area at the time. On June 10, 1919, Hendrix and Moore had a son they named James Allen Ross Hendrix (died 2002); people called him Al.
In 1941, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance in Seattle; they married on March 31, 1942. Al, who had been drafted by the United States Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding. Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington; he was the first of Lucile's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.[nb 2]
Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent his going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth.[nb 3] During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise their son, often neglecting him in favor of nightlife. When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends, especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding. Al received an honorable discharge from the US Army on September 1, 1945. Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to the Berkeley home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and had attempted to adopt Hendrix. There Al saw his son for the first time.
After returning from service, Al reunited with Lucille, but his inability to find steady work left the family impoverished. They both struggled with alcohol abuse, and often fought when intoxicated. The violence sometimes drove Hendrix to withdraw and hide in a closet in their home. His relationship with his brother Leon (born 1948) was close but precarious; with Leon in and out of foster care, they lived with an almost constant threat of fraternal separation. In addition to Leon, Hendrix had three younger siblings: Joseph, born in 1949, Kathy in 1950, and Pamela, 1951, all of whom Al and Lucille gave up to foster care and adoption. The family frequently moved, staying in cheap hotels and apartments around Seattle. On occasion, family members would take Hendrix to Vancouver to stay at his grandmother's. A shy and sensitive boy, he was deeply affected by his life experiences. In later years, he confided to a girlfriend that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a man in uniform. On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced; the court granted Al custody of him and Leon.
At Horace Mann Elementary School in Seattle during the mid-1950s, Hendrix's habit of carrying a broom with him to emulate a guitar gained the attention of the school's social worker. After more than a year of his clinging to a broom like a security blanket, she wrote a letter requesting school funding intended for underprivileged children, insisting that leaving him without a guitar might result in psychological damage. Her efforts failed, and Al refused to buy him a guitar.[nb 4]
In 1957, while helping his father with a side-job, Hendrix found a ukulele amongst the garbage that they were removing from an older woman's home. She told him that he could keep the instrument, which had only one string. Learning by ear, he played single notes, following along to Elvis Presley songs, particularly Presley's cover of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog".[nb 5] By the age of thirty-three, Hendrix's mother Lucille had developed cirrhosis of the liver, and on February 2, 1958, she died when her spleen ruptured. Instead of taking James and Leon to attend their mother's funeral, Al gave them shots of whiskey and told them that was how men were supposed to deal with loss.[nb 6] In mid-1958, at age 15, Hendrix acquired his first acoustic guitar, for $5. Hendrix earnestly applied himself, playing the instrument for several hours daily, watching others and getting tips from more experienced guitarists, and listening to blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson. The first tune Hendrix learned how to play was the theme from Peter Gunn.
Soon after he acquired the acoustic guitar, Hendrix formed his first band, the Velvetones. Without an electric guitar, he could barely be heard over the sound of the group. After about three months, he realized that he needed an electric guitar in order to continue. In mid-1959, his father relented and bought him a white Supro Ozark. Hendrix's first gig was with an unnamed band in the basement of a synagogue, Seattle's Temple De Hirsch, but after too much showing off, the band fired him between sets. Hendrix later joined the Rocking Kings, which played professionally at venues such as the Birdland club. When someone stole his guitar after he left it backstage overnight, Al bought him a red Silvertone Danelectro. In 1958, Hendrix completed his studies at Washington Junior High School, but he did not graduate from Garfield High School.[nb 7]
Before Hendrix reached the age of 19 years, law enforcement authorities had twice caught him riding in stolen cars. When given a choice between spending time in prison or joining the Army, he chose the latter and enlisted on May 31, 1961. After completing eight weeks of basic training at Fort Ord, California, the Army assigned him to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed him at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He arrived there on November 8, and soon afterward he wrote to his father: "There's nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school ... you get hell. They work you to death, fussing and fighting." In his next letter home, Hendrix, who had left his guitar at his girlfriend, Betty Jean Morgan's house in Seattle, asked his father to send him the guitar as soon as possible, stating: "I really need it now." His father obliged and sent the red Silvertone Danelectro on which Hendrix had hand-painted the words "Betty Jean", to Fort Ord. His apparent obsession with the instrument contributed to his neglect of his duties, which led to verbal taunting and physical abuse from his peers, who at least once hid the guitar from him until he had begged for its return.
In November 1961, fellow serviceman Billy Cox walked past the service club and heard Hendrix playing guitar inside. Cox, intrigued by the proficient playing, which he described as a combination of "John Lee Hooker and Beethoven", immediately borrowed a bass guitar from the club and the two jammed. Within a few weeks, they began performing at base clubs on the weekends with other musicians in a loosely organized band called the Casuals.
Hendrix completed his paratrooper training in just over eight months, and Major General C.W.G. Rich awarded him the prestigious Screaming Eagles patch on January 11, 1962. By February, his personal conduct had begun to draw criticism from his superiors. They labeled him an unqualified marksmen and often caught him napping while on duty and failing to report for bed checks. On May 24, Hendrix's platoon sergeant, James C. Spears filed a report in which he stated: "He has no interest whatsoever in the Army ... It is my opinion that Private Hendrix will never come up to the standards required of a soldier. I feel that the military service will benefit if he is discharged as soon as possible." On June 29, 1962, Captain Gilbert Batchman granted Hendrix an honorable discharge on the basis of unsuitability. Hendrix later spoke of his dislike of the army and falsely stated that he had received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump.[nb 8]
In September 1963, after Cox was discharged from the Army, he and Hendrix relocated to Clarksville, Tennessee and formed a band called the King Kasuals. Hendrix had watched Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and by now Alphonso 'Baby Boo' Young, the other guitarist in the band, was performing this guitar gimmick. Not to be upstaged, Hendrix learned to play with his teeth, he commented: "The idea of doing that came to me ... in Tennessee. Down there you have to play with your teeth or else you get shot. There's a trail of broken teeth all over the stage." Although they began playing low-paying gigs at obscure venues, the band eventually moved to Nashville's Jefferson Street, which was the traditional heart of Nashville's black community and home to a thriving rhythm and blues music scene. While in Nashville, they earned a brief residency playing at a popular venue in town, the Club del Morocco. For the next two years, Hendrix made a living performing at a circuit of venues throughout the South who were affiliated with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA), widely known as the Chitlin' Circuit. In addition to performing in his own band, Hendrix performed in backing bands for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Wilson Pickett, Chuck Jackson, Slim Harpo, Tommy Tucker, Sam Cooke, and Jackie Wilson.
In January 1964, feeling he had outgrown the circuit artistically and frustrated by having to follow the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to venture out on his own. He moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he befriended Lithofayne Pridgeon, known as "Faye", who became his girlfriend. Pridgeon, a Harlem native with connections throughout the area's music scene, provided Hendrix with shelter, support, and encouragement. He also met the Allen twins, Arthur and Albert.[nb 9] In February 1964, Hendrix won first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur contest. Hoping to secure a career opportunity, he played the Harlem club circuit and sat in with various bands. At the recommendation of a former associate of Joe Tex, Ronnie Isley granted Hendrix an audition that led to an offer to become the guitarist with the Isley Brothers' back-up band, the I.B. Specials; Hendrix readily accepted.
In March 1964, Hendrix recorded the two-part single "Testify" with the Isley Brothers. Released in June 1964, it failed to chart. He toured with them through mid-1964, when he quit after a gig in Nashville.[nb 10] In September 1964, Hendrix joined Little Richard's touring band, the Upsetters.[nb 11] During a stop in Los Angeles, Hendrix recorded his first and only single with Richard, "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)", written by Don Covay and released by Vee-Jay Records.[nb 12] In July 1965, on Nashville's Channel 5 Night Train, he made his first television appearance. Performing in Little Richard's ensemble band, Hendrix backed up vocalists Buddy and Stacy on "Shotgun". The video recording of the show marks the earliest known footage of Hendrix performing. He often clashed with Richard over tardiness, wardrobe, and his stage antics, so in late July 1965, Richard's brother Robert fired him. He then briefly rejoined the Isley Brothers, and recorded a second single with them, "Move Over and Let Me Dance" backed with "Have You Ever Been Disappointed".
Later that year, Hendrix joined a New York–based R&B band, Curtis Knight and the Squires, after meeting Knight in the lobby of a hotel where both men were staying. Hendrix performed on and off with them for eight months. In October 1965, he and Knight recorded the single, "How Would You Feel" backed with "Welcome Home" and on October 15 Hendrix signed a three-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin. While the relationship with Chalpin was short-lived, his contract remained in force, which later caused legal and career problems for Hendrix.[nb 13] During his time with Curtis Knight and the Squires, Hendrix briefly toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters and worked with King Curtis on several recordings including Ray Sharpe's two-part single, "Help Me". Hendrix earned his first composer credits for two instrumentals, "Hornets Nest" and "Knock Yourself Out", released as a Curtis Knight and the Squires single in 1966.[nb 15]
In early 1966, Hendrix formed his own band, the Blue Flame, which included Randy Palmer on bass, Danny Casey on drums, and a 15-year-old guitarist named Randy Wolfe.[nb 16] By June 1966, the Blue Flame had begun playing at several clubs in New York, but their primary venue was a residency at the Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. They gave their last concerts at the Cafe au Go Go, as John Hammond Jr.'s backing group.[nb 17]
By May 1966, Hendrix was struggling to earn a living wage playing the R&B circuit, so he briefly rejoined Curtis Knight and the Squires for an engagement at one of New York City's most popular nightspots, the Cheetah Club. During a performance, Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards noticed Hendrix. She remembered: "[His] playing mesmerised me". She invited him to join her for a drink; he accepted and the two became friends.
Keith recommended Hendrix to Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein. They failed to see Hendrix's musical potential, and rejected him. She then referred him to Chas Chandler, who was leaving the Animals and interested in managing and producing artists. Chandler liked the Billy Roberts song "Hey Joe", and was convinced he could create a hit single with the right artist. Impressed with Hendrix's version of the song, Chandler brought him to London on September 23, 1966, and signed him to a management and production contract with himself and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. On September 24, Hendrix gave an impromptu solo performance at the Scotch-Club, and later that night he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted for two and a half years.[nb 18]
Following Hendrix's arrival in London, Chandler began recruiting members for a band designed to highlight the guitarist's talents, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix met guitarist Noel Redding at an audition for the New Animals, where Redding's knowledge of blues progressions impressed Hendrix, who stated that he also liked Redding's hairstyle. Chandler asked Redding if he wanted to play bass guitar in Hendrix's band; Redding agreed. Chandler then began looking for a drummer and soon after, he contacted Mitch Mitchell through a mutual friend. Mitchell, who had recently been fired from Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, participated in a rehearsal with Redding and Hendrix where they found common ground in their shared interest in rhythm and blues. When Chandler phoned Mitchell later that day to offer him the position, he readily accepted. Chandler also convinced Hendrix to change the spelling of his first name from Jimmy to the exotic looking Jimi.
On September 30, Chandler brought Hendrix to the London Polytechnic at Regent Street, where Cream was scheduled to perform, and where Hendrix and Eric Clapton met. Clapton later commented: "He asked if he could play a couple of numbers. I said, 'Of course', but I had a funny feeling about him." Halfway through Cream's set, Hendrix took the stage and performed a frantic version of the Howlin' Wolf song "Killing Floor". In 1989, Clapton described the performance: "He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn't in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it ... He walked off, and my life was never the same again".
In mid-October 1966, Chandler arranged for the Experience to accompany Johnny Hallyday as his support act for a brief tour of France. Their enthusiastically received 15-minute performance at the Olympia theatre in Paris on October 18 marks the earliest known recording of the band. In late October, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, managers of the Who, signed the Experience to their newly formed label, Track Records, which released the Experience's first single on October 23. "Hey Joe", which included a female chorus provided by the Breakaways, was backed by Hendrix's first songwriting effort, "Stone Free".
In mid-November, they performed at the Bag O'Nails nightclub in London, with Clapton, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Kevin Ayers in attendance. Ayers described the crowd's reaction as stunned disbelief: "All the stars were there, and I heard serious comments, you know 'shit', 'Jesus', 'damn' and other words worse than that." The successful performance earned Hendrix his first interview, published in Record Mirror with the headline: "Mr. Phenomenon". "Now hear this ... we predict that [Hendrix] is going to whirl around the business like a tornado", wrote Bill Harry, who asked the rhetorical question: "Is that full, big, swinging sound really being created by only three people?" Hendrix commented: "We don't want to be classed in any category ... If it must have a tag, I'd like it to be called, 'Free Feeling'. It's a mixture of rock, freak-out, rave and blues". After appearances on the UK television shows, Ready Steady Go! and the Top of the Pops, "Hey Joe" entered the UK charts on December 29, 1966, peaking at number six. Further success came in March 1967 with the UK number three hit, "Purple Haze", and in May with "The Wind Cries Mary", which remained on the UK charts for eleven weeks, peaking at number six.
On March 31, 1967, while the Experience waited to perform at the London Astoria, Hendrix and Chandler discussed ways in which they could increase the band's media exposure. When Chandler asked journalist Keith Altham for advice, Altham suggested that they needed to do something more dramatic than the stage show of the Who, which involved the smashing of instruments. Hendrix joked: "Maybe I can smash up an elephant", to which Altham replied: "Well, it's a pity you can't set fire to your guitar". Chandler then asked road manager Gerry Stickells to procure some lighter fluid. During the show, Hendrix gave an especially dynamic performance before setting his guitar on fire at the end of a 45-minute set. In the wake of the stunt, members of London's press labeled Hendrix the "Black Elvis" and the "Wild Man of Borneo".[nb 19]
After the moderate UK chart success of their first two singles, "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze", the Experience began assembling material for a full-length LP. Recording began at De Lane Lea Studios and later moved to the prestigious Olympic Studios. The album features a diversity of musical styles, including blues tracks "Red House" and "Highway Chile", and the R&B song "Remember". It also included the experimental science fiction piece, "Third Stone from the Sun" and the futuristic soundscapes of "the title track", with prominent backwards guitar and drums. "I Don't Live Today" served as a vehicle for Hendrix's guitar feedback improvisation and "Fire" was driven by Mitchell's drumming.
Released in the UK on May 12, 1967, Are You Experienced spent 33 weeks on the charts, peaking at number 2.[nb 20] It was prevented from reaching the top spot by the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.[nb 21] On June 4, 1967, Hendrix opened a show at the Saville Theatre in London with his rendition of Sgt. Pepper's title track, which was released just three days previous. Beatles manager Brian Epstein owned the Saville at the time, and both George Harrison and Paul McCartney attended the performance. McCartney described the moment: "The curtains flew back and he came walking forward playing 'Sgt. Pepper'. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honors of my career." Released in the US in August by Reprise Records, Are You Experienced, reached number 5 on the Billboard 200.[nb 22]
In 1989, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine described Are You Experienced as "the album that shook the world ... leaving it forever changed".[nb 23] In 2005, Rolling Stone called the double-platinum LP Hendrix's "epochal debut", and they ranked it the 15th greatest album of all-time, noting his "exploitation of amp howl", and characterizing his guitar playing as "incendiary ... historic in itself".
Although popular in Europe at the time, the Experience's first US single, "Hey Joe" backed by "51st Anniversary", failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release on May 1, 1967. Their fortunes soon improved when McCartney recommended them to the organizers of the Monterey International Pop Festival. He insisted that the event would be incomplete without Hendrix, whom he called "an absolute ace on the guitar", and he agreed to join the board of organizers on the condition that the Experience perform at the festival in mid-June.
Introduced by Brian Jones as "the most exciting performer [he had] ever heard", Hendrix opened with a fast arrangement of Howlin' Wolf's song "Killing Floor", wearing what author Keith Shadwick described as "clothes as exotic as any on display elsewhere ... He was not only something utterly new musically, but an entirely original vision of what a black American entertainer should and could look like." The Experience went on to perform renditions of "Hey Joe", B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby", Chip Taylor's "Wild Thing", and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", as well as four original compositions: "Foxy Lady", "Can You See Me", "The Wind Cries Mary", and "Purple Haze". The set ended with Hendrix burning his guitar on stage, then smashing it before tossing pieces out to the audience. Filmed by D. A. Pennebaker, and later included in the concert documentary Monterey Pop, the performance helped earn Hendrix the attention of the US public. After the festival, the Experience played a series of concerts at Bill Graham's Fillmore, with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Jefferson Airplane, before replacing the latter at the top of the bill after embarrassing them musically.
Following their successful West Coast introduction, which included a free open air concert at Golden Gate Park and a concert at the Whisky a Go Go, the Experience were booked as an opening act for the pop group the Monkees, on their first American tour. They had requested Hendrix as a support act because they were fans, but their young audience disliked the Experience, who left the tour after six shows. Chandler later admitted that he had engineered the Monkees tour to gain publicity for Hendrix.
An excerpt from the outro guitar solo. The sample demonstrates the first recording of stereo phasing.
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The second Experience album, Axis: Bold as Love, opens with the track, "EXP", which innovatively utilized microphonic and harmonic feedback. It also showcased an experimental stereo panning effect in which sounds emanating from Hendrix's guitar move through the stereo image, revolving around the listener. The piece reflected his growing interest in science fiction and outer space. He composed the album's title track and finale around two verses and two choruses, during which he pairs emotions with personas, comparing them to colors. The song's coda features the first recording of stereo phasing.[nb 24] Shadwick described the composition as "possibly the most ambitious piece on Axis, the extravagant metaphors of the lyrics suggesting a growing confidence" in Hendrix's songwriting. His guitar playing throughout the song is marked by chordal arpeggios and contrapuntal motion, with tremolo picked partial chords providing the musical foundation for the chorus, which culminates in what musicologist Andy Aledort described as "simply one of the greatest electric guitar solos ever played". The track fades out on tremolo picked thirty-second note double stops.
The album's scheduled release date was almost delayed when Hendrix lost the master tape of side one of the LP, leaving it in the back seat of a London taxi. With the deadline looming, Hendrix, Chandler, and engineer Eddie Kramer remixed most of side one in a single overnight session, but they could not match the quality of the lost mix of "If 6 Was 9". Bassist Noel Redding had a tape recording of this mix, which had to be smoothed out with an iron as it had gotten wrinkled. During the verses, Hendrix doubled his singing with a guitar line which he played one octave lower than his vocals.
Hendrix voiced his disappointment about having re-mixed the album so quickly, and he felt that it could have been better had they been given more time. He also expressed dismay regarding the album cover art work, which depicts him and the Experience as various forms of Vishnu, incorporating a painting of them by Roger Law, from a photo-portrait by Karl Ferris. Hendrix stated that the cover would have been more appropriate had it highlighted his American Indian heritage. Track Records released the album in the UK on December 16, 1967, where it peaked at number 5, spending 16 weeks on the charts. In February 1968, Axis: Bold as Love reached number 3 in the US.
While author and journalist Richie Unterberger described Axis as the least impressive Experience album, according to author Peter Doggett, the release "heralded a new subtlety in Hendrix's work". Mitchell commented: "Axis was the first time that it became apparent that Jimi was pretty good working behind the mixing board, as well as playing, and had some positive ideas of how he wanted things recorded. It could have been the start of any potential conflict between him and Chas in the studio."
Recording for the Experience's third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, began at the newly opened Record Plant Studios, with Chandler as producer aided by engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren. As the sessions progressed, Chandler became increasingly frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism, and his demands for repeated re-takes. Hendrix also allowed numerous friends and guests to join them in the studio, which contributed to a chaotic and crowded environment in the control room, leading Chandler to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix. Redding later recalled: "There were tons of people in the studio; you couldn't move. It was a party, not a session." Redding, who had formed his own band in mid-1968, Fat Mattress, found it increasingly difficult to fulfill his commitments with the Experience, which resulted in Hendrix playing many of the bass parts on Electric Ladyland. The album's cover stated that it was "produced and directed by Jimi Hendrix".[nb 25]
During the Electric Ladyland recording sessions, Hendrix began experimenting with alternative combinations of musicians, including Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady and Traffic's Steve Winwood, who played bass and organ respectively on the fifteen-minute slow-blues jam, "Voodoo Chile". During the album's production, Hendrix appeared at an impromptu jam with B.B. King, Al Kooper, and Elvin Bishop.[nb 26] Electric Ladyland was released in October, and by mid-November it had reached number one in the US, spending two weeks at the top spot. The double LP was Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his first and only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, spending 12 weeks on the chart. Electric Ladyland included Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's song, "All Along the Watchtower", which became Hendrix's highest-selling single and his only US top 40 hit, peaking at number 20; the single reached number five in the UK. The album also contained Hendrix's first recorded song to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal, "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", which reached number 18 in the UK charts.
In 1989, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine described Electric Ladyland as "Hendrix's masterpiece". According to author Michael Heatley, "most critics agree" that the album is "the fullest realization of Jimi's far-reaching ambitions." In 2004, author Peter Doggett commented: "For pure experimental genius, melodic flair, conceptual vision and instrumental brilliance, Electric Ladyland remains a prime contender for the status of rock's greatest album." Doggett described the LP as "a display of musical virtuosity never surpassed by any rock musician."
In January 1969, after an absence of more than six months, Hendrix briefly moved back into his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham's Brook Street apartment, which was next door to the Handel House Museum in the West End of London.[nb 27] During this time, the Experience toured Scandinavia, Germany, and gave their final two performances in France. On February 18 and 24, they played sold-out concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, which were the last European appearances of this line-up.[nb 28]
By February 1969, Redding had grown weary of Hendrix's unpredictable work ethic and his creative control over the Experience's music. During the previous month's European tour, interpersonal relations within the group had deteriorated, particularly between Hendrix and Redding. In his diary, Redding documented the building frustration during early 1969 recording sessions: "On the first day, as I nearly expected, there was nothing doing ... On the second it was no show at all. I went to the pub for three hours, came back, and it was still ages before Jimi ambled in. Then we argued ... On the last day, I just watched it happen for a while, and then went back to my flat." Recording sessions at Olmstead and the Record Plant in New York that ended on April 14, which produced a re-recording of "Stone Free" for use as a possible single release, were the last Experience sessions that included Redding. Hendrix then flew Billy Cox to New York; they started recording and rehearsing together on April 21.
The last performance of the original Experience line-up took place on June 29, 1969, at Barry Fey's Denver Pop Festival, a three-day event held at Denver's Mile High Stadium that was marked by police using tear gas to control the audience. The band narrowly escaped from the venue in the back of a rental truck, which was partly crushed by fans who had climbed on top of the vehicle. The next day, Redding quit and returned to London. He blamed Hendrix's plans to expand the group without allowing for his input as a primary reason for leaving.
Soon after Redding's departure, Hendrix began lodging at the eight-bedroom Ashokan House, in the hamlet of Boiceville near Woodstock in upstate New York, where he had spent some time vacationing in mid-1969. Manager Michael Jeffery arranged the accommodations in the hope that the respite might encourage Hendrix to write material for a new album. During this time, Mitchell was unavailable for commitments made by Jeffery, which included Hendrix's first appearance on US TV – on The Dick Cavett Show – where he was backed by the studio orchestra, and an appearance on The Tonight Show where he appeared with Cox and session drummer Ed Shaughnessy.
Hendrix, who was by 1969 the world's highest-paid rock musician, performed at the Woodstock Music Festival along with many of the most popular bands of the time. For the concert, Hendrix added rhythm guitarist Larry Lee and conga players Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez. The band rehearsed for less than two weeks before the performance, and according to Mitchell, they never connected musically.
Before arriving at the festival, Hendrix heard reports that the crowd was swelling to epic proportions. As he did not like playing in front of large crowds, this gave him cause for concern. Hendrix was an important draw for the festival and received more pay than the other performers; he was paid $18,000 for his performance plus $12,000 for the rights to film him. As his scheduled time slot of midnight on Sunday drew closer, he indicated that he preferred to wait and close the show in the morning; the band took the stage around 8:30 am on Monday. By the time of their set, Hendrix had been awake for the duration of the festival, which lasted three days. The audience, which had peaked at an estimated 400,000 people, was now reduced to 30–40,000, many of whom had waited to catch a glimpse of Hendrix before leaving during his performance. Hendrix and his band were introduced by the festival MC, Chip Monck, as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but once on stage Hendrix clarified: "We decided to change the whole thing around and call it Gypsy Sun and Rainbows. For short, it's nothin' but a Band of Gypsys".
An excerpt from the beginning of "The Star Spangled Banner", at Woodstock, August 18, 1969. The sample demonstrates Hendrix's cutting-edge use of feedback.
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Hendrix's performance featured a rendition of the US national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", during which he used copious amounts of amplifier feedback and sustain to replicate the sounds made by rockets and bombs. Although political pundits quickly described his interpretation as a statement against the Vietnam War, three weeks later Hendrix explained its meaning: "We're all Americans ... it was like 'Go America!'... We play it the way the air is in America today. The air is slightly static, see". Immortalized in the 1970 documentary film, Woodstock, his guitar-driven version would become part of the sixties Zeitgeist. Images of the performance showing Hendrix wearing a blue-beaded white leather jacket with fringe and a red head scarf are widely regarded as defining moments of the era.[nb 29]
Hendrix played "Hey Joe" during the encore, concluding the 3½-day festival. Upon leaving the stage, he collapsed from exhaustion. The Woodstock lineup appeared together on two subsequent occasions, and on September 16 they jammed for one last time; soon afterward, Lee and Velez left the band.
An excerpt from the first guitar solo that demonstrates Hendrix's cutting-edge use of high gain and overdrive to achieve an aggressive, sustained tone.
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A contractual dispute arose in 1966 regarding an agreement Hendrix had entered into the previous year with producer Ed Chalpin. After two years of legal maneuvering the parties agreed to a resolution that required Hendrix to record an album of new material for Chalpin: Hendrix chose to record the live LP, Band of Gypsys. Amidst widespread social upheaval in the US including the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and several notable assassinations, Hendrix formed an all-black power-trio with Cox and drummer Buddy Miles, formerly with Wilson Pickett, the Electric Flag, and the Buddy Miles Express. Critic John Rockwell described Hendrix and Miles as jazz-rock fusionists, and their collaboration as pioneering. Biographers have speculated that Hendrix formed the band in an effort to appease members of the Black Power movement and others in the black communities who called for him to use his fame to speak-up for civil rights.
Hendrix had been recording with Cox since April and jamming with Miles since September, and the trio wrote and rehearsed material which they performed at a series of four shows over two nights on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at the Fillmore East. Recordings of these concerts became the material for the LP, which was produced by Hendrix. The album includes the track "Machine Gun", which was described by musicologist Andy Aledort as the pinnacle of Hendrix's career, and "the premiere example of [his] unparalleled genius as a rock guitarist ... In this performance, Jimi transcended the medium of rock music, and set an entirely new standard for the potential of electric guitar."
The Band of Gypsys album was the only official live Hendrix LP made commercially available during his lifetime; several tracks from the Woodstock and Monterey shows were released later that year. The album reached the top ten in both the US and the UK in April 1970. That same month, a Band of Gypsys single was issued, "Stepping Stone"/"Izabella", but Hendrix was dissatisfied with the quality of the mastering and he demanded that it be withdrawn and re-mixed. This prevented the tracks from charting, resulting in Hendrix's least successful single; it was also his last.
In late January 1970, Mitchell and Redding flew to New York and signed contracts with Jeffery for the upcoming Jimi Hendrix Experience tour. On January 28, a third and final Band of Gypsys appearance took place; they performed during a music festival at Madison Square Garden benefiting the anti-Vietnam War Moratorium Committee titled the "Winter Festival for Peace". Hendrix's participation in the benefit expressed his growing resentment of the war in Vietnam. American blues guitarist Johnny Winter was backstage before the show; he recalled: "[Hendrix] came in with his head down, sat on the couch alone, and put his head in his hands ... He didn't move until it was time for the show." Minutes after taking the stage he snapped a vulgar response at a woman who had shouted a request for "Foxy Lady". He then began playing "Earth Blues" before telling the audience: "That's what happens when earth fucks with space". Moments later, he briefly sat down on the drum riser before leaving the stage. Both Miles and Redding later stated that Jeffery had given Hendrix LSD before the concert. Miles believed that Jeffery had intended to sabotage the current band and bring about the return of the Experience lineup.
A week after the abruptly ended Band of Gypsys show, Rolling Stone interviewed Hendrix, Mitchell, and Redding in advance of their upcoming tour dates as a reunited Experience. Redding was not informed that he would be leaving the band until the pre-tour rehearsals, and since he did not make the time to rehearse with them, Hendrix continued to work with Cox. This lineup is often referred to as the "Cry of Love" band, after the Cry of Love Tour to distinguish it from the original. Billing, advertisements, and tickets for the tour were printed with "the New Jimi Hendrix Experience" or occasionally just "Jimi Hendrix".
During the first four months of 1970 Hendrix worked on what would have been his next LP, tentatively titled First Rays of the New Rising Sun. The Cry of Love tour began in April at the L.A. Forum, and was partly undertaken to earn money to repay the Warner Bros. loan for completing his Electric Lady Studios. Performances on this tour featured Hendrix, Cox, and Mitchell playing new material alongside older audience favorites. The American leg of the tour included 30 performances and ended at Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 1, 1970. A number of these shows were recorded and produced some of Hendrix's most memorable live performances. At one of them, the second Atlanta International Pop Festival, on July 4, Hendrix played to the largest American audience of his career. According to authors Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz, as many as 500,000 people watched Hendrix perform at the concert.
In 1968, Hendrix and Jeffery jointly invested in the purchase of the Generation Club in Greenwich Village. They had initially planned to reopen the club, but after an audit revealed that exorbitant studio fees had been incurred by block-booking lengthy sessions at peak rates they decided that the investment would better serve them as a recording studio. Architect and acoustician John Storyk designed the studio for Hendrix, with round windows and a machine capable of generating ambient lighting in a myriad of colors. Storyk designed the studio to have a relaxing feel that would encourage Hendrix's creativity, but at the same time provide a professional recording atmosphere.
When Electric Lady Studios opened in August 1970, Hendrix had been recording there for two and a half months, most of which during the final phases of construction. Following a mastering session at Sterling Sound on August 26, they held a grand opening party for Electric Lady Studios. Afterwards, Hendrix left for London and never returned to the newly finished studio. He boarded an Air India flight for London with Billy Cox, joining Mitch Mitchell to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival.
When the Experience began their 1970 European tour, Hendrix, longing for his new studio and creative outlets, was not eager to fulfill the commitment. In Aarhus, he abandoned the performance after only three songs, stating: "I've been dead a long time". On September 6, 1970, Hendrix gave his final concert performance, at the Isle of Fehmarn Festival in Germany. He was met with booing and jeering from fans in response to his cancellation of a performance slated for the end of the previous night's bill due to torrential rain and risk of electrocution. A live recording of the concert was later released as Live at the Isle of Fehmarn. After the show, Cox, who was suffering from severe paranoia after either taking LSD or being given it unknowingly, quit the tour and went home to Memphis, Tennessee.
On September 13, 1970, Hendrix returned to London. Within days of his arrival he had spoken with Chas Chandler, Alan Douglas, and others about leaving his manager, Michael Jeffery. On September 16, Hendrix gave his last public performance during an informal jam at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho with Eric Burdon and his latest band, War. The band began by playing a few of their recent hits, and after a brief intermission Hendrix joined them during "Mother Earth" and "Tobacco Road". His performance was uncharacteristically subdued; he quietly played backing guitar while refraining from the histrionics that people had come to expect from him. He died less than 48 hours later.
Although the details of Hendrix's last day and death are widely disputed, he spent much of September 17 in London with Monika Dannemann, the only witness to his final hours. Dannemann stated that she had prepared a meal for them at her apartment in the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, sometime around 11 p.m., when they shared a bottle of wine. She drove Hendrix to the residence of an acquaintance at approximately 1:45 a.m., where he remained for about an hour before she picked him up and drove them back to her flat at 3 a.m. Dannemann said they talked until around 7 a.m., when they went to sleep. She awoke around 11 a.m., and found Hendrix breathing, but unconscious and unresponsive. She called for an ambulance at 11:18 a.m.; they arrived on the scene at 11:27 a.m. Paramedics then transported Hendrix to St Mary Abbot's Hospital where Dr. John Bannister pronounced him dead at 12:45 p.m. on September 18, 1970.
To determine the cause of death, coroner Gavin Thurston ordered a post-mortem examination on Hendrix's body, which was performed on September 21 by Professor Robert Donald Teare, a forensic pathologist. Thurston completed the inquest on September 28, and concluded that Hendrix aspirated his own vomit and died of asphyxia while intoxicated with barbiturates. Citing "insufficient evidence of the circumstances", he declared an open verdict. Dannemann later stated that Hendrix had taken nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping tablets, 18 times the recommended dosage.
On September 29, Hendrix's body was flown to Seattle, Washington. After a service at Dunlop Baptist Church on October 1, he was interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, Washington, the location of his mother's gravesite. Hendrix's family and friends traveled in twenty-four limousines and more than two hundred people attended the funeral, including several notable musicians such as original Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, as well as Miles Davis, John Hammond, and Johnny Winter.[nb 30]
Hendrix was widely associated with the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly lysergic acid diethylamide. He first experimented with the drug when he met Linda Keith in late 1966. He also smoked cannabis, and used amphetamines, particularly while touring. Friends and bandmates reported that Hendrix often became angry and violent when he drank too much alcohol. Though illicit drugs alone did not produce a significant negative effect on him, when he mixed them with alcohol his mood often became incendiary. Hendrix's friend, Herbie Worthington, explained: "You wouldn't expect somebody with that kind of love to be that violent ... He just couldn't drink ... he simply turned into a bastard." A girlfriend of Hendrix's, Carmen Borrero, required stitches after he hit her above her eye with a vodka bottle during a drunken, jealous rage.
In January 1968, the Experience travelled to Sweden for a one-week tour of Europe. During the early morning hours of the first day, Hendrix became engaged in a drunken brawl in the Hotel Opalen, in Stockholm, smashing a plate-glass window and injuring his right hand, for which he received medical treatment. The incident culminated in his arrest, though the authorities released him pending a court appearance on the 16th. The remainder of the tour was uneventful, though Hendrix had to spend some time in Sweden awaiting his trial, which resulted in a large fine. After the burglary of his house in Benedict Canyon, California, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he punched his friend Paul Caruso and accused him of the theft. Hendrix then chased Caruso away from the residence while throwing stones at him.
On May 3, 1969, while checking through Canadian customs at Toronto Pearson International Airport, authorities arrested Hendrix for drug possession after finding a small amount of heroin and hashish in his luggage. He was released on a CAN$10,000 cash bail four hours before a performance at Maple Leaf Gardens. The courts required Hendrix to appear before a judge at a later date. During the trial, he stated that a fan had placed the drugs into his bag without his prior knowledge or consent; he was acquitted of the charges.
Hendrix's recordings were released in North America by Reprise Records, a division of Warner Communications, and by Polydor Records internationally. In 1969, Capitol Records released the Band of Gypsys album in the US and Canada. British releases of his albums up to and including The Cry of Love (1970) were first issued on the independent label Track Records, which was originally created by the managers of the Who. Polydor later absorbed the label.
In 1993, MCA delayed a planned multi-million dollar sale of Hendrix's publishing copyrights because Al Hendrix was unhappy about the planned sale: "I am so angry about this", he stated during a phone interview with journalist Chuck Philips, speaking publicly for the first time about his concerns. "Nobody ever informed me that the rights to my son's music were up for sale. If it's true, I think it's a total rip-off." Al Hendrix acknowledged that he had sold distribution rights to a foreign corporation in 1974, but stated that it did not include copyrights and argued that he had retained veto power of the sale of the catalogue.
Under a settlement reached in July 1995, Al Hendrix prevailed in his legal battle and regained control of his son's song and image rights. He subsequently licensed the recordings to MCA Records through the family-run company Experience Hendrix LLC, formed in 1995. In August 2009, Experience Hendrix announced that it had entered a new licensing agreement with Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings division which would take effect in 2010.
Two of Hendrix's final recordings included the lead guitar parts on "Old Times Good Times" from Stephen Stills' eponymous album (1970) and on "The Everlasting First" from Arthur Lee's new incarnation of Love. Both tracks were recorded during a brief visit to London in March 1970, following Kathy Etchingham's marriage. Some of Hendrix's unfinished material was released as the 1971 title The Cry of Love. The album was well received and charted in several countries. However, the album's producers, Mitchell and Kramer, would later complain that due to contractual reasons, they were unable to make use of all the tracks they wanted due to some tracks being used for 1971's Rainbow Bridge and 1972's War Heroes. Material from The Cry of Love was re-released in 1997 as First Rays of the New Rising Sun, along with the other tracks that Mitchell and Kramer wanted to include.
In 2010, Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix LLC launched the 2010 Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project, starting with the release of Valleys of Neptune in March. Legacy has also released deluxe CD/DVD editions of the Hendrix albums Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland and First Rays of the New Rising Sun, as well as the 1968 compilation album Smash Hits.[nb 31] Hendrix recorded demos for a concept album tentatively titled, Black Gold, which are now in the possession of Experience Hendrix LLC; as of 2013 no official release date has been announced.
As an adolescent during the 1950s, Hendrix became interested in rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry. In 1968, he told Guitar Player magazine that electric blues artists including Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and B.B. King influenced him during the beginning of his career, he also cited Eddie Cochran as an early influence. In 1970, he told Rolling Stone that he was a fan of western swing artist Bob Wills, and while he lived in Nashville, the television show, the Grand Ole Opry. Of Muddy Waters, the first electric guitarist of which Hendrix became aware, he said: "I heard one of his records when I was a little boy and it scared me to death because I heard all of these sounds."
Cox stated that during their time serving in the US military, he and Hendrix primarily listened to southern blues artists such as Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, and Albert King. According to Cox, "Albert King was a very, very powerful influence" on Hendrix. Howlin' Wolf also influenced Hendrix, who performed Wolf's "Killing Floor" as the opening song to the set of his US debut at the Monterey Pop Festival. Soul guitarist Curtis Mayfield also significantly influenced Hendrix.
Hendrix played a variety of guitars during his career, but his guitar of choice and the instrument that became most associated with him was the Fender Stratocaster. He started playing the model in 1966, and thereafter used it prevalently in his stage performances and recordings. Hendrix used right-handed guitars, turned upside down and restrung for left-hand playing. This had an important effect on his guitar sound: because of the slant of the Strat's bridge pickup, his lowest string had a bright sound while his highest string had a mellow sound, the opposite of the Stratocaster's intended design. His heavy use of the tremolo bar often detuned his guitar strings, necessitating frequent tunings. In addition to Stratocasters, Hendrix also used Fender Jazzmasters, Duosonics, two different Gibson Flying Vs, a Gibson Les Paul, three Gibson SGs, a Gretsch Corvette and a Fender Jaguar, as well as several other brands. He used a white Gibson SG Custom for his performances on The Dick Cavett Show in September 1969, and a black Gibson Flying V during the Isle of Wight festival in 1970.[nb 32]
On December 4, 2006, one of Hendrix's 1968 Fender Stratocaster guitars with a sunburst design was sold at a Christie's auction for US$168,000. Described as the first guitar Hendrix set fire to, another of his Stratocasters was sold at an auction for a record price in London two years later in 2008. Daniel Boucher, an American collector from Boston, paid £280,000 ($497,500) for the guitar. This guitar was set aflame at the end of the Astoria concert in March 1967. Hendrix's action "sent roadies rushing to put out the flames and left Hendrix needing treatment for minor burns." Rescued by Hendrix's press officer, Tony Garland, it was his nephew who came forward in 2007 and put the guitar up for auction. The guitar had been forgotten in Tony Garland's parents' garage for some forty years. In 2009, experts questioned whether the guitar Boucher bought was an elaborate forgery.
Hendrix influenced the development of modern guitar effects pedals, and his use of high volume and feedback required robust amplifiers. For the first few rehearsals he used Vox and Fender amplifiers. When he sat in with Cream in October 1966, he played through a new line of high-powered guitar amps being made by a London drummer turned audio engineer Jim Marshall; they proved perfect for Hendrix's needs. The Marshall amplifiers were crucial in shaping his heavily overdriven sound, enabling him to master the use of feedback as a musical effect, creating what author Paul Trynka described as a "definitive vocabulary for rock guitar".
Hendrix most likely first heard a wah-wah pedal used with an electric guitar in Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses", released in May 1967. In July, while playing gigs at the Scene club in New York City, Hendrix met Frank Zappa, whose band, the Mothers of Invention were performing at the adjacent Garrick Theater. Zappa's application of the effect pedal fascinated Hendrix, who experimented with one later that evening. The wah pedals Hendrix owned were designed by the Thomas Organ Company and manufactured in Italy by JEN Electtronica Pescara for Vox. He can be heard using the effect on: "Up from the Skies", "Little Miss Lover", "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming".
While Hendrix consistently used a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face and a Vox wah pedal in recordings and during live performance, he also experimented with other guitar effects. He enjoyed a fruitful long-term collaboration with electronics enthusiast Roger Mayer, who first introduced him to the Octavia, an octave doubling effect pedal, in December 1966. They worked together until Hendrix's death in 1970. Hendrix first recorded with the Octavia during the guitar solo on "Purple Haze". He once called Mayer "the secret of my sound".
The Japanese-made Uni-Vibe, designed to simulate the modulation effects of the rotating Leslie speaker, provided a rich phasing sound with a speed control pedal, and is heard during Hendrix's Woodstock performance and the Band of Gypsys track "Machine Gun", which highlights use of the Uni-Vibe, Octavia and Fuzz Face. His signal flow for live performance involved first plugging his guitar into a Vox Wah-Wah pedal, then into an Arbiter Fuzz Face, and then into a Uni-Vibe, before connecting to a Marshall amplifier.
Hendrix's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography states: "Jimi Hendrix was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll." Musicologist Andy Aledort described Hendrix as "one of the most creative musicians of all time." Music journalist Chuck Philips wrote: "In a field almost exclusively populated by white musicians, Hendrix has served as a role model for a cadre of young black rockers. His achievement was to reclaim title to a musical form pioneered by black innovators like Little Richard and Chuck Berry in the 1950s."
Instrumental in developing the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback, Hendrix favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume, gain and treble. He helped to popularize use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock, which he used to vary the tonal character in his solos and rhythm playing. On most recordings, Hendrix rejected the standard barre chord fretting technique used by most guitarists in favor of fretting the low 6th string root notes with his thumb. He applied this technique during the beginning bars of "Little Wing", which allowed him to sustain the root note of chords while also playing melody. The technique has been described as piano style, with the thumb playing what a pianist's left hand would play and the other fingers playing melody as a right hand.
He pioneered experimentation with stereophonic phasing effects in rock music recordings. Rolling Stone comments: "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." Hendrix also played keyboard instruments on several recordings, including piano on "Are You Experienced?", "Spanish Castle Magic" and "Crosstown Traffic", and harpsichord on "Bold as Love" and "Burning of the Midnight Lamp".
Hendrix synthesized numerous genres in creating his musical voice and his guitar style, which would later be abundantly imitated by others. Despite his hectic touring schedule and notorious perfectionism, he was a prolific recording artist and left behind numerous unreleased recordings. His profound impact on popular music established a sonically heavy yet technically proficient style, significantly furthering the development of hard rock and paving the way for heavy metal. His music has influenced funk and the development of funk rock particularly through guitarists Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers and Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic; Prince; John Frusciante, former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; and Jesse Johnson of the Time. Hendrix's influence also extends to many hip hop artists, including Questlove, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Ice-T, El-P and Wyclef Jean. Miles Davis was also deeply impressed by Hendrix and compared his improvisational skills with those of saxophonist John Coltrane. Davis would later request that guitarists in his bands emulate Hendrix. His guitar style also had significant influence upon Texas guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. Hendrix's influence is also evident in the musical styles of many prominent bassists such as Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Billy Sheehan, and Les Claypool.
His career and death grouped him with Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones as one of the 27 Club, a group including 1960s rock performers who suffered drug-related deaths at the age of 27 within a two-year period, leaving legacies in death that have eclipsed the popularity and influence they experienced during their lifetimes.
"Electric Church" was Hendrix's quasi-spiritual belief that electric music brings out emotions and creative ideas in people, and encourages spirituality. On The Dick Cavett Show in 1969, Hendrix said that he designed his music so that it would be able to go "inside the soul of the person, and awaken some kind of thing inside, because there are so many sleeping people". Promoting his third album Electric Ladyland, Hendrix said "the influence the psychedelics have on one is truly amazing, and I only wish more people appreciated this belief and genre". When asked why he didn't name the album "Electric Church" instead of "Electric Ladyland", Hendrix said some women were "electric too".
Hendrix was known for his flamboyant wardrobe and his Dylan-esque hairstyle; a set of hair curlers was one of the few possessions that he took with him to England in 1966. Soon after his first advance check arrived, Hendrix took to the streets of London in search of clothing at famous boutiques such as I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and Granny Takes a Trip; both of which specialized in vintage fashion. He purchased at least two army dress uniform jackets including a Crimean War-era Royal Hussars regimental coat, or pelisse, adorned with tasseled ropes. Journalist Neil Spencer, of NME commented:
With their mutton-chop sideburns, droopy moustaches and flowing hair, English rock stars were effectively spoofing the Victorian officer class whose finery they donned. But a grinning, crazy-haired Hendrix in hussar's jacket suggested something else entirely—a redskin brave showing off the spoils of a paleface scalp, perhaps, or a negro "buffalo soldier" fighting on the side of the anti-slavery Yankee forces in the US Civil War.
A group of policemen once ordered Hendrix to remove his Royal Army Veterinary Corps dress jacket, stating that it was an offense to any soldier who might have died while wearing it. Hendrix, who had researched the history of the jacket, explained that it had been worn by the men who tended the donkeys, not the ones who fought in battle. The police insisted that he remove the jacket and Hendrix temporarily obliged, putting the jacket back on once they had left.
In 1988, Hendrix's family commissioned the non-profit charity, the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation, based in Renton, Washington. According to Leon Hendrix, the goal of the foundation was to "inspire and support creativity and understanding in the community, especially with young children." The foundation sought to raise money for music and art programs while promoting diversity. In August 2006, Leon asked a childhood friend of Jimi's – James Williams, to take control of the Foundation.
Hendrix was the recipient of several prestigious rock music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year. In 1968, Billboard named him the Artist of the Year and Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Also in 1968, the City of Seattle gave him the Keys to the City. Disc & Music Echo newspaper honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player magazine named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year.
Rolling Stone ranked his three non-posthumous studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968) among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. They ranked Hendrix number one on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and number six on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Guitar World's readers voted six of Hendrix's solos among the top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time: "Purple Haze" (70), "The Star-Spangled Banner" (52; live version from Live at Woodstock), "Machine Gun" (32; live from Band of Gypsys), "Little Wing" (18), "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (11) and "All Along the Watchtower" (5). Rolling Stone placed seven of his recordings in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: "Purple Haze" (17), "All Along the Watchtower" (47) "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (102), "Foxy Lady" (153), "Hey Joe" (201), "Little Wing" (366), and "The Wind Cries Mary" (379). They also included three of Hendrix's songs in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time: "Purple Haze" (2), "Voodoo Child" (12), and "Machine Gun" (49).
A star for Hendrix on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated on November 14, 1991, at 6627 Hollywood Boulevard. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1999, readers of Rolling Stone and Guitar World ranked Hendrix among the most important musicians of the 20th century. In 2005, his debut album, Are You Experienced, was one of 50 recordings added that year to the United States National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, "[to] be preserved for all time ... [as] part of the nation's audio legacy."
The English Heritage blue plaque that identifies his former residence at 23 Brook Street, London, one door down from the former residence of George Frideric Handel, was the first the organization ever granted to a pop star. A memorial statue of Hendrix playing a Stratocaster stands near the corner of Broadway and Pine Streets in Seattle. In May 2006, the city renamed a park near its Central District in his honor.
|1983||Lifetime Achievement||Guitar Player|
|1992||Lifetime Achievement Award||Grammy|
|1999||Are you Experienced? (Reprise, 1967)*||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Album)|
|1999||Electric Ladyland (Reprise, 1968)||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Album)|
|2000||"Purple Haze" (Reprise, 1967)*||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Single)|
|2001||"All Along the Watchtower" (Reprise, 1968)*||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Single)|
|2005||Are you Experienced?||National Recording Registry, Library of Congress|
|2006||Axis: Bold as Love (Reprise, 1968)*||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Album)|
|2009||"The Star-Spangled Banner" (Cotillion, 1970)||Grammy Hall of Fame (Rock, Track)|
Asterisk in the table indicates the award was for the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
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