Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), born Johnny Allen Hendrix, carved out an unparalleled path with his left-handed guitar in rock and roll music, forever changing the instrument and popular music.
Jimi grew up in Seattle, Washington, and it was there that he became interested in learning to play, using a broom as a pretend guitar until his father gave him an old, one-string ukulele. In 1958, Jimi’s dad bought his teenage son a second-hand acoustic guitar for all of five bucks from a friend. 1961 brought a one-year stint in the US Army, and quickly after that Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee to pursue his music. After making his way through the chitlin’ circuit, he began playing with the Isley Brothers’ backing band before accompanying other big names like Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and Tina Turner.
By 1966, Hendrix formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London with the help of the Animals’ bassist Chas Chandler as their manager. The band rode the success of their first album ‘Are You Experienced’ for the following year in the UK before returning to the US to play the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of ’67.
Jimi’s next album ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ gave him the opportunity to get behind the production consoles in the studio, and that same year in 1968 he commissioned his own studio, Electric Ladyland, to be built in New York City.
Jimi took Woodstock by storm in the summer of ’69 with his psychedelic, incendiary take on the ‘Star Spangled Banner” just one year before his death in 1970. His final studio album was released posthumously 1997, titled ‘First Rays of the New Rising Sun’. It became one of many after-death works released by his estate, reminding us of his awe-inspiring musical prowess year after year.