27 Years of Jimi Hendrix

27 years was all it took for Jimi Hendrix to be remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His electric guitar style and innovative music and sound are what distinguished him from the other famous musicians of his era. Though his rise to fame appeared quick with and even faster unfortunate end, the experiences and people he met are what shaped him into the legendary superstar that we remember.

As a child Jimi’s father would catch him attempting to play guitar with their broom. The broom’s straw would be scattered around Jimi’s room and after being questioned by his father he would always claimed it happened while he was sweeping the floor. His father, knowing better than to believe Jimi’s lie, bought Jimi his first acoustic guitar at age 16. It wasn’t until a year later that Jimi was able to purchase his first electric guitar, a Supro Ozark and soon after joined his first band.

After dropping out of high school, Jimi followed his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961. During that time he continued to play music with his band called the King Kasulas but was quickly discharged from the army a year later after injuring himself during a parachute jump. Jimi then went on to pursue his passion and became a studio musician. Jimi Hendrix played back up for artists like Little Richard, B.B. King, Sam Cooke, and the Isley Brothers.

In mid-1966, Jimi met Chas Chandler (bass player for The Animals) in Greenwich Village, NYC. Chandler quickly became Jimi’s manager and convinced him to go play in London. It was there that Jimi formed his most well-known band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience consisting of himself and Noel Redding, and Mitch Mitchell. While playing in London, Jimi met and became friends with the members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Eric Clapton.  He was smack dab in the mecca of rock and roll music at that time.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience hit the height of their fame with songs like, “Hey Joe” “Purple Haze” and, “The Wind Cries Mary.”  It was at The Monterey Pop Festival that Jimi made his first mark on live music performance history.  He ended his set by lighting his guitar on fire and from that point forward was known as a world renowned guitarist. After the separation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi went on to play his most famous performance at Woodstock in 1969. He opened his show with his interpretation of The Star Spangled Banner and wowed the festival goers with his passion and talent.

Tragically only a year after his most memorable and ground breaking performance, Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 in the city that helped propel his fame, London. Though his life too short and only a fraction of his creative genius shown, he accomplished enough in his 27 years on earth to be forever viewed as one of the greatest guitarist of all time.

-Victoria Shaffer

Sources:

“Jimi Hendrix Biography.” The Official Jimi Hendrix Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017

“Jimi Hendrix.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 06 May 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.

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