Jimi Hendrix Biography

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James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix Born: 27 November 1942,Seattle, Washington,USA

Died:18 September 1970, London, England, UK

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (Born Johhny Allen Hendrix) (27 November 1942, Seattle, Washington – 18 September 1970, London, England) was an American musician, songwriter and guitarist, widely hailed by fans and music critics. Hendrix is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists of all time.

Mostly self-taught on the instrument, the left-handed Hendrix used a right-handed guitar that was restrung and played up-side down. As a guitarist, he built upon the innovations of blues stylists such as B. B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, as well as those of rhythm and blues and soul music guitarists like Curtis Mayfield.

Hendrix's music was also influenced by jazz; he often cited Rahsaan Roland Kirk as his favorite musician. In addition, Hendrix extended the tradition of rock guitar: although previous guitarists, such as The Kinks' Dave Davies, and The Who's Pete Townshend, had employed techniques such as feedback, distortion and other effects as sonic tools, Hendrix was able to exploit them to a previously undreamed-of extent, and to incorporate them as an integral part of his compositions.

Jimi's father Al Hendrix is credited as the one who gave Jimi his first real guitar. The two would have jam sessions with Al on either bass or saxophone. As a record producer, Hendrix was an innovator in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. Hendrix was notably one of the first to experiment with stereo effects during the recording process. Hendrix was also an accomplished songwriter whose compositions have been performed by countless artists.

Finally, his image and influence as a rock star place him in the company of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, The Who, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Hendrix's first idol Elvis Presley.

The controversial nature of Hendrix's style is epitomized in the sentiments expressed about his renditions of the "Star Spangled Banner", a tune he played loudly and sharply accompanied by simulated sounds of war (machine guns, bombs and screams) from his guitar. His impressionistic renditions have been described by some as anti-American mockery and by others as a generation's statement on the unrest in U.S. society, oddly symbolic of the beauty, spontaneity, and tragedy that was endemic to Hendrix's life.

Hendrix however did not intend this to be the case; he was a deeply patriotic man after his service in the 101st Airborne and rather intended it as a different interpretation of the anthem. When taken to task on the Dick Cavett Show on the "unorthodox" nature of his performance, Hendrix replied, "I thought it was beautiful." Rather, it was his latter-career live favourite Machine Gun which he intended as a protest song against war.

Youth and pre-professional career

Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle, Washington, the son of Al Hendrix and Lucille Jeter. His mother was an alcoholic and died young of cirrhosis when Jimi was aged 15, providing Hendrix with a musical muse which he would later express in his songs, for example, "Little Wing". His father, after returning from World War II, legally renamed him James Marshall Hendrix.

He grew up shy, sensitive, and full of confusion. His hero was Robert Derouin. Like his contemporaries John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Hendrix was deeply affected by family events – his parents' divorce in December 1951, listening to Elvis Presley, whom he loved (a color drawing, showing a young Elvis armed with a guitar, and made by the then impressionable 15 year old Hendrix himself, two months after attending Presley's concert at Seattle's Sick's Stadium on 1 September 1957, can be seen at that city's Rock museum), and the death of his mother, five months later in King County Hospital.

He was close to his paternal grandmother Nora Rose Moore. Nora, the daughter of an Irish Cherokee father and a mulatto mother, instilled in him a strong sense of pride about his Native American ancestry.

Both of Jimi's paternal grandparents were vaudeville performers who settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where his father, Al Hendrix, was born. Al relocated to Seattle, where he met and married Lucille Jeter. After Lucille's death, Al gave Jimi a ukulele, and later bought him a US$5 acoustic guitar, setting him on the path to his future vocation.

A hand drawn picture of Elvis Presley made by Jimi Hendrix at the age of 15.

After playing with several local Seattle bands and getting into trouble with the law via a stolen car, Hendrix was sentenced to 2 years in jail. However, his lawyer made a compromise offer, and Hendrix was sentenced to 2 years of service in the Army, joining the 101st Airborne Division (stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky) as a trainee paratrooper. Hendrix was a poor soldier who was repeatedly caught sleeping while on duty and missing at midnight bed-check.

Superiors noted that he needed constant supervision even for basic tasks, and lacked motivation. He was described by one supervisor as having "no known good characteristics", and by another that "his mind apparently cannot function while performing duties and thinking about his guitar".

After less than a year, he received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle on his 26th parachute jump. (He said later that the sound of air whistling through the parachute shrouds was one of the sources of his "spacy" guitar sound.) Hendrix was discharged from the US Army three years before the Vietnam War saw large numbers of US soldiers arrive.

But his recordings would become favorites of soldiers fighting there. (A biography published in summer 2005, Room Full Of Mirrors, by Charles Cross, claims that Hendrix faked being gay--claiming to have fallen in love with another soldier--and was therefore discharged.

According to Cross, Hendrix was an avid anti-communist and did not leave the US Army as a protest to the Vietnam War, but simply wanted out so he could focus on playing guitar.)

After leaving Ft. Campbell, Hendrix and his friend and bandmate Billy Cox moved to nearby Nashville. There they played, and sometimes lived, in the clubs along Jefferson Street, the traditional heart of Nashville's black community, and home to a lively rhythm and blues scene.

During the early 1960s, Hendrix made a precarious living performing in backing bands for touring soul and blues musicians, including Curtis Knight, B. B. King, and Little Richard. His first notice came from appearances with The Isley Brothers, notably on the two-parter Testify in 1964.


On 15 October 1965, Hendrix signed a 3-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin, receiving $1 and 1% royalty on records with Curtis Knight. The contract later caused litigation with Hendrix and other record labels.

By 1966 he had his own band, Jimmy James and The Blue Flames, and a residency at the Cafe Wha? in New York City. During this period Hendrix met and worked with singer-guitarist Ellen McIlwaine and guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Hendrix also became close friends with a young guitarist named Randy California, who would later co-found the band Spirit.

Hendrix also met iconoclast Frank Zappa during this time. Zappa introduced Hendrix to the newly-invented wah-wah pedal, a tool which Hendrix soon mastered and made an integral part of his sound.

While performing with The Blue Flames at the Cafe Wha?, Linda Keith, then-girlfriend of The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, saw Hendrix, and couldn't believe he hadn't been "discovered". Knowing Chas Chandler was leaving The Animals, and looking for someone to manage, she introduced him to Hendrix.

Chandler took Hendrix to England, signed him to a management and production contract as his record producer, and helped him form a new band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with guitarist-turned-bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.

With his first few show-stopping London club appearances, word of the new star spread through the British music industry. His showmanship and dazzling virtuosity made instant fans of reigning guitar heroes Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, as well as members of The Beatles and The Who, whose managers signed Hendrix to The Who's record label, Track Records.

Jimi's first single was a cover of "Hey Joe", a stylised blues song written by Billy Roberts that was virtually a standard for rock bands at the time. Hendrix and Chandler had seen folk-singer Tim Rose performing his slow arrangement of Hey Joe at the Cafe Wha?, and adapted it to Hendrix' emerging psychedelic style.

Further Hendrix success came with the incendiary and original "Purple Haze", with a heavily distorted guitar sound which still influences people now; the soulful ballad "The Wind Cries Mary", and "Hey Joe". The three songs were Top 10 hits.

Established as a star in the U.K., Hendrix and his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham moved into a flat at 23 Brook Street in central London. The nearby 25 Brook Street was once the home of baroque composer George Frideric Handel. Hendrix, aware of this musical coincidence, bought Handel recordings including Messiah and the Water Music. The two houses currently comprise the Handel House Museum, where both musicians are celebrated.


US cover of Are You Experienced

The 1967 release of the group's first album, Are You Experienced, is a mix of melodic ballads ("The Wind Cries Mary"), pop-rock ("Fire"), psychedelia ("Third Stone from the Sun"), and blues ("Red House"), and is a template for much of their later work.

Hendrix went to a hospital with burns to his hands after setting his guitar on fire for the first time at the Astoria theatre in London on 31 March 1967. Later, after causing damage to amplifiers and other stage equipment at his shows, Rank Theatre management warned him to "tone down" his stage act.

The Monterey Pop Festival booked The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the urging of festival board member Paul McCartney. At the concert, filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker immortalized Hendrix's iconic burning and smashing of his guitar in the film Monterey Pop.

A short gig, opening for the pop group The Monkees on their first American tour, followed the festival. The Monkees asked for Hendrix because they were fans, but their mostly teenage audience did not warm to his outlandish stage act and he abruptly quit the tour after a few dates, just as "Purple Haze" gained popularity in America. Chas Chandler later admitted that being "thrown off" The Monkees tour was engineered to gain maximum media impact and outrage for Hendrix.

At the time a story circulated claiming that Hendrix was removed from the tour because of complaints made by the Daughters of the American Revolution that his stage conduct was "lewd and indecent". Australian journalist Lillian Roxon, accompanying the tour with singer Lynne Randell (the other support act), concocted the story. The claim was repeated in Roxon's 1969 Rock Encyclopedia but she later admitted it was fabricated.

Meanwhile in England, Hendrix's wild-man image and musical gimmickry (such as playing the guitar with his teeth and behind his back) continued to bring publicity, but Hendrix was already advancing musically and becoming frustrated by media and audience concentration on his stage act and his hit singles.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience's second 1967 album, Axis: Bold as Love continued the style established by Are You Experienced with tracks such as "Little Wing" and "If 6 Was 9", showing his continuing mastery of the electric guitar. A mishap almost prevented the album's release; Hendrix lost the master tape of side 1 of the LP after he left it in a taxi.

With the release deadline looming, Hendrix, Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer in an all-night session made a remix from the multitracks. Kramer and Hendrix later said that they were never entirely happy with the results.


Increasing personality differences with Noel Redding, combined with the influence of drugs, alcohol and fatigue, led to a trouble-plagued tour of Scandinavia. On 4 January 1968, Hendrix was jailed by Stockholm police, after trashing a hotel room in a drunken rage.

The band's third recording, a double album, Electric Ladyland (1968), is more eclectic and experimental than previous recordings. It features a lengthy blues jam ("Voodoo Child"), the jazz-inflected "Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming", and what is probably the definitive version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". Dylan enjoyed this version of the song so much that he went on record as saying that he preferred Jimi's version to his own.(Hendrix credited British band The Alan Bown Set for inspiration on the arrangement.)

Hendrix decided to return to the US, and frustrated by the limitations of commercial recording he decided to establish his own state-of-the-art multitrack studio in New York City to which he could have unlimited access to realise his expanding musical visions. Construction of the studio, called Electric Lady, was not completed until mid-1970.

Hendrix's formerly disciplined work habits became erratic, and the combination of interminable sessions and studios filled with hangers-on finally led Chas Chandler to quit in May 1968. Chandler later complained that Hendrix's insistence on doing multiple takes on every song (Gypsy Eyes apparently took 43 takes and he still was not satisfied), combined with what he saw as incoherence caused by drugs, led to him to sell his share of the management company to his partner Mike Jeffrey.

Hendrix's studio perfectionism is legendary — he reportedly made accomplished Traffic guitarist Dave Mason do more than 20 takes of the acoustic guitar backing on All Along The Watchtower. Deeply insecure about his voice, Hendrix often recorded his vocals behind studio screens.

Many critics now believe that the ascendancy of Mike Jeffrey was a negative influence on Hendrix's life and career. Jeffrey (who had previously managed The Animals and was later reviled by them) allegedly embezzled much of the money Hendrix earned during his lifetime and secreted it in offshore bank accounts.

Jeffrey allegedly had links to both the MI5 and CIA intelligence organisations (he claimed publicly to be a secret agent) and to the Mafia. He also regularly carried a hand gun, and could speak Russian. Despite the difficulties of recording Electric Ladyland, many of the tracks show Hendrix's vision expanding far beyond the scope of the original trio (it is said that the sound of the record inspired Miles Davis' sound on Bitches Brew), and saw him collaborating with a range of musicians including Dave Mason, Chris Wood and Steve Winwood from Traffic, drummer Buddy Miles and the former Dylan organist Al Kooper.


His expanding musical horizons were accompanied by a deterioration in his relationship with bandmates (particularly Redding), and the Experience broke up in 1969.
Jimi Giving Peace

Hendrix giving the peace sign at Woodstock

On 4 January 1969 he was accused by television producers of arrogance after playing an impromptu version of "Sunshine of Your Love" past his allotted time slot on the BBC1 show Happening for Lulu, apparently as a tribute to Cream after learning the band broke-up.

This track with Hendrix saying "they are taking us off the air" is preceded by a very heavy version of Hey Joe and is featured on BBC Sessions , massive amounts of sustain feedback and note bending sent Jimi's guitar well out of tune.

On February 18 and February 24, 1969 the Experience performed at London's Albert Hall, to sold out concerts each attended by 5000 people. A film that was marketed as the Experience's last performance initially was released as a four track LP soundtrack featuring the songs "Sunshine of your Love" (Cream), "Room Full of Mirrors", "C Sharp Blues" and "Smashing of Amps".

Many varied audio track compilations have much later surfaced including "Voodoo Child" and "Little Wing" on "In the West", as well as "Stone Free" from "Concerts" all taken from these Albert Hall performances. The 16mm film "Experience" was recorded as a Gold and Goldstein production also at this Albert Hall performance on February 24, 1969 and sadly remains unreleased despite containing excellent audio and colour film footage.

A bootleg film of this concert exists, with both poor audio and film quality as well as unrelated footage. Noel Redding's band "Fat Mattress" played at the same concert, Hendrix casually referring to them as "Thin Pillow ".

On 3 May Hendrix was arrested at Toronto's Pearson International Airport after heroin was found in his luggage. He was later bailed on a $10,000 surety. Hendrix was acquitted after asserting that the drugs were slipped into his bag by a fan without his knowledge.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played its last-ever concert 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 rioting and tear gas.

The Denver concert commenced with a version of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Tax Free" a song composed by the Swedish duo of Bo Hansson and drummer Rune Carlsson. Following the Denver concert on 29 June, Noel Redding announced that he had quit the Experience, although he had effectively ceased working with Hendrix during most of the recording of Electric Ladyland.

By August of 1969, Hendrix formed a new band called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows to play the Woodstock festival. The group featured Hendrix on guitar, Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Larry Lee on rhythm guitar and Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan on drums and percussion. This performance is best known for an intense instrumental version of The Star-Spangled Banner that segued into Purple Haze, into a lengthy solo into "Villanova Junction", a song that would show his future direction for the rest of his carrer.

After he left the stage, he responded to the calls for encore and played his hit, "Hey Joe" to close Woodstock. This is considered by many his best performance.It is worth noting that the following day Miles Davis began recording Bitches Brew, one of his first Jazz-Rock recordings.


The Gypsy Sun and Rainbows band was short-lived, and Hendrix formed a new trio, the Band of Gypsys. Practising in upstate New York and at Juggy's sound studio, Band of Gypsys comprised Billy Cox, an old paratrooper buddy, on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.

A press conference 15 December 1969 and concert in Harlem in front of mainly a black audience paid tribute to civil rights and had a focus on Dr Martin Luther King. Four memorable concerts on New Year's Eve 1969-70 at Bill Graham's New York Fillmore East auditorium captured several outstanding pieces, including what some feel is one of Hendrix's greatest live performances, an explosive 12-minute rendition of his anti-war epic Machine Gun.

The release of Band of Gypsys - the only official live recording sanctioned by Jimi - brought to an end the contract and legal battles happening behind the scenes involving Ed Chalpin.

His association with Miles ended abruptly during a concert at Madison Square Garden on 28 January 1970, when Hendrix walked out after playing just three songs, telling the audience: "I'm sorry we just can't get it together." Miles later said in a television interview that Hendrix felt he was losing the spotlight to other musicians.

In a Guitar World article, engineer Eddie Kramer claimed that Hendrix was very displeased with Miles' practice of scat singing through the band's performances (Hendrix reportedly edited out many of Miles' vocal solos on the Band of Gypsys live album, although the opening track Who Knows features an extended Miles scat).

The rest of 1970 was spent mainly recording during the week, and playing live on the weekends. The "Cry of Love" tour, begun in April, was structured with this pattern in mind. Performances on this tour were uneven in quality, however many recordings exist that are also outstanding particularly those recorded by engineer Eddie Kramer and those recorded by John Jansen of Wally Heider studios ; many are available as bootleg recordings.

A show in May in Norman, Oklahoma was dedicated to the students killed in the Kent State shootings.

Following Buddy Miles departure as drummer, Mitch Mitchell rejoined Hendrix with Billy Cox on bass. The album released after Hendrix's death (1972) called "In the West" featured an outstanding rendition of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B'Good" recorded live at Berkeley Community Center on May 16 1970.

A 12 minute version of "Red House" taken from a concert at San Diego Sports Arena also on this album shows Hendrix's command of blues at full swing. Voodoo Chile along with Little Wing are wrongly labelled on the album notes for "In the West" as recordings at San Diego Sports Arena - they were actually part of the February 24, 1969 recordings at the Albert Hall in London.

The sound quality is noticeably better on these "In the West" versions, than on other releases of "Soundtrack to the motion picture Experience" A soundtrack to a film called Rainbow Bridge became available on LP in 1971 featuring a power-house version of "Hear My Train a Comin" (this track was released on the more recent album "Blues") and was also recorded at Berkeley Community Center - May 16, 1970.

"Hear My Train a Comin" from this concert provides, like "Red House" San Diego and Fillmore East "Stone Free" and "Machine Gun", Hendrix playing at his best. However the entire album on this occasion was incorrectly labelled, the recordings for the film Rainbow Bridge were taken from performances on Hawaii's Maui island July 1970.

Rainbow Bridge the LP featured many tracks later to appear on "First Rays of the Rising Sun" including "Hey Baby" with Hendrix announcing "Is the Microphone On?", "Dolly Dagger", "Earth Blues","Room Full of Mirrors" "Look over Yonder" and a stellar version of "Star Spangled Banner" mixed at the Record Plant which resurfaced on the Purple velvet 3 Disc collectors set Experience in 2002.

With the opening of Electric Lady studios, Hendrix spent more time in the studio and started laying down several new tracks. Some of these would surface much later on the strangely named album "War Heroes", "Loose Ends" and Cry of Love - see "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" At a June concert, Hendrix announced that his next LP would come out in "July or August, in either one or two parts.

" Subsequently some tracks being released as a LP (and CD) "Cry of Love" However, recording sessions for the album, tentatively titled "The First Rays Of The New Rising Sun" continued until he was scheduled to depart for his upcoming European tour. An opening party for Electric Lady was held on 26 August, and following this, Hendrix boarded a Air India flight for England.

On 30 August, he gave his last performance in the United Kingdom, at the Isle of Wight Festival with Mitchell and Cox. Hendrix expressed disappointment on-stage at his fans' clamour to hear his old hits rather than his new ideas. However, his two hour set proved to be a strong one, and a filmed record of his set entitled "Wild Blue Angel" was eventually released.

Hendrix was critically aware of illegal recordings being made of this concert and can be seen speaking with concert officials in the movie footage. He further deliberately combines pieces together so recordings cannot be extracted.

Amazing footage of the song "Foxey Lady" finds Hendrix behind the Marshall stacks further speaking with concert organizers whilst controlling a wall of howling feedback in pitch black darkness with absolute control and having no view of the other band members!!

On 6 September 1970, his final stage performance, Hendrix was greeted by booing and jeering by fans at the Isle of Fehmarn Festival in Germany in a riot-like atmosphere; shortly after he left the stage, it went up in flames during the first stage appearance of Ton Steine Scherben. Billy Cox quit the tour and headed back to the United States after reportedly being dosed with PCP.

Hendrix remained in England, and on the morning of 18 September 1970, was found dead in the basement apartment of the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, London. He had spent the night with a German girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, and died in bed after taking a reported nineteen Vesperax sleeping pills and choking on his own vomit.

For years afterwards Danneman publicly claimed Hendrix was alive when placed in the back of the ambulance (however her comments about that morning were often contradictory and confused, varying from interview to interview).

Police and ambulance reports from the time reveal that not only was Jimi Hendrix dead when they arrived on the scene, but he had been for some time, the apartment's front door was wide open, and the apartment itself empty. Reports that Jimi's tape "Black Gold" had been stolen from the flat are in fact wrong: they ended up in Mitch Mitchell's possession, being handed to Mitch by Jimi on 6 cassettes at the Maui concert in July, 1970.

His body was returned home and he was interred in the Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington, USA, although Jimi requested to be buried in England.

Following a libel case brought in 1996 by Hendrix's long-term English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, Monika Danneman took her own life.


Hendrix's style was unique. Although he synthesized many styles in creating his musical voice, being a visionary, there was something in his playing truly his own.

He owned and used a variety of guitars during his career, including a Gibson Flying V that he decorated with psychedelic designs (notably used on "House Burning Down"). His guitar of choice, and the instrument that became most associated with him, is the Fender Stratocaster, or "Strat".

He bought his first Strat about 1965 and used them almost exclusively thereafter. Hendrix's emergence coincided with the lifting of postwar import restrictions (imposed in many British Commonwealth countries), which made the instrument much more available, and after its initial popularisers — Buddy Holly and Hank B.

Marvin — Hendrix arguably did more than any other player to make the Stratocaster the biggest-selling electric guitar in history. Before his arrival in the U.K. most top players used Gibsons and Rickenbackers, but after Hendrix, almost all of the leading guitarists, including Beck and Clapton, switched to the Stratocaster. Hendrix bought dozens of Strats and gave many away (including one given to ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons). Many others were stolen and he destroyed several in his famous guitar-burning finales.

The Strat's easy action and relatively narrow neck were also ideally suited to Hendrix's evolving style and enhanced his tremendous dexterity — Hendrix's hands were large enough to fret across all six strings with the top joint of his thumb alone, and he could reputedly play lead and rhythm parts simultaneously.

A more amazing fact about Hendrix is that he was left-handed, yet used a right-handed Stratocaster, meaning he played the guitar upside down. While Hendrix was capable of playing with the strings upside down per se, he restrung his guitars so that the heavier strings were in their standard position at the top of the neck. He preferred this layout because the tremolo arm and volume/tone controls were more easily accessible above the strings.

The burnt and broken parts of the Stratocaster he destroyed at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival were given to Frank Zappa, who later rebuilt it and played it extensively during the 1970s and 1980s. In May 2002, Zappa's son Dweezil put the guitar up for auction in the US, hoping it would fetch $1 million, but it failed to sell.

The legendary white 1968 Strat that Hendrix played at Woodstock sold at Sotheby's auction house in London in 1990 for £174,000 (295,800 Euros) and resold in 1993 for £750,000 (€1,275,000). Both it and a shard of the burnt and broken guitar now reside in a permanent exhibit at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.

Hendrix was also a catalyst in the development of modern guitar amplification and guitar effects. His high-energy stage act and the blistering volume at which he played required robust and powerful amplifiers. For the first few months of his touring career he used Vox and Fender amplifiers, but he soon found that they could not stand up to the rigours of an Experience show.

But he soon discovered a new range of high-powered guitar amps being made by London audio engineer Jim Marshall and they proved perfect for his needs. Along with the Strat, the Marshall stack and Marshall amplifiers were crucial in shaping his heavily overdriven sound, enabling him to master the creative use of feedback as a musical effect, and his exclusive use of this brand soon made it the most popular amplifier in rock.

It is believed that the Marshall Super 100 amp, purchased by Hendrix on 8 October 1966, was the first he ever bought. Rich Dickinson of Thrupp, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, bought the second-hand Marshall amp in 1971 for just £65.

In May, 2005, experts at Marshall Amplifiers in Milton Keynes unearthed photos of the rock star with the amp that proved beyond doubt that it was the genuine article. In a local news story[2], Dickinson said that he had to part with the beloved amp because insuring it would cost thousands.

"I'm not in any rush to sell it and will wait for the best price, not just jump at whoever offers the first silly money," he said.

The amp, of which only four were made, had been fully serviced by Marshall and was to be sold in a private sale. It was believed that it would fetch more than £1 million. Hendrix also constantly looked for new guitar effects.

He was one of the first guitarists to move past simple gimmickry and to exploit the full expressive possibilities of electronic effects such as the wah-wah pedal. He had a fruitful association with engineer Roger Mayer and made extensive use of several Mayer devices including the Axis fuzz unit, the Octavia octave doubler and especially the UniVibe, a vibrato unit designed to electronically simulate the modulation effects of the Leslie speaker.

Hendrix's sound is a unique blend of high volume and high power, precise control of feedback and a range of cutting-edge guitar effects, especially the UniVibe-Octavia combination, which can be heard to full effect on the Band of Gypsys' live version of Machine Gun. He was also known for his trick playing, which included using his teeth or playing behind his back, although he soon tired of audience demands to perform these tricks.

Despite his hectic touring schedule and his notorious perfectionism, he was a prolific recording artist and left behind more than 300 unreleased recordings besides his five official LPs and various singles.

He became legendary as one of the great 1960s rock'n'roll musicians who, like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones, rose to stardom, flourished for just a few years and died at age 27.

Rolling Stone magazine named Hendrix the number 1 guitarist of all time. His influence almost cannot be overstated.

Posthumous releases

After Hendrix's death, hundreds of unreleased recordings emerged. Controversy arose when producer Alan Douglas supervised the mixing, overdubbing, and release of two albums' worth of material that Hendrix left in various states of completion.

These include the LPs Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning and although they contain several important tracks, the albums are generally considered to be of substandard quality.

In 1972 British producer Joe Boyd put together a film documentary on Hendrix's life, titled simply Jimi Hendrix, which played in art-house cinemas around the world for many years.

The double-album soundtrack to the film, including live performances from Monterey, Berkeley and the Isle of Wight, is considered the best of the posthumous release.

Another LP to emerge in the 1970s was the live compilation Hendrix In The West, consisting of top-shelf American live recordings from the last two years of his life, including an outstanding rendition of the concert favourite "Red House."

Although the film Rainbow Bridge is generally regarded as being of minor interest, what was billed as a soundtrack to the film (it is not the soundtrack) includes several superb tracks intended for Hendrix's fourth studio album, First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, the never-completed follow-up to Electric Ladyland.

The studio tracks, "Dolly Dagger", "Earth Blues", "Room Full of Mirrors" and the melancholy improvised instrumental "Pali Gap", showed Hendrix advancing his studio technique to new levels, as well as, absorbing influences from contemporary black soul and funk acts such as James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone.

The Rainbow Bridge album is highlighted by the full-length live version of another of Hendrix's concert performances, a tour-de-force 10-minute electric version of the blues standard "Hear My Train A-Comin." He originally recorded the song in 1967 for promotional film, performing it impromptu as a short but engaging Delta-style acoustic blues played on a borrowed 12-string guitar.

The 1970 electric version saw the song transformed almost beyond recognition; like Machine Gun it showcased the classic elements of the Hendrix electric sound and featured some of his most inspired improvisation. The track was taped live at a concert at the Berkeley Community Theater in California.

An edited filmed segment of this performance was also included in the concert film Jimi Plays Berkeley. Interest in Hendrix waned during the 1980s, but with the advent of the compact disc, Polygram and Warner-Reprise reissued many Hendrix recordings on CD in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The earliest Polygram reissues are of a poor standard and Electric Ladyland suffered particularly, being evidently a direct transfer from the existing LP masters, with tracks placed out of their correct order.

This reflected the original LP running order, an artifact of the days when double-LPs were pressed with sides 1 and 4 on one LP and sides 2 and 3 on the other, so that the records could be placed on an automatic changer and played in sequence by turning them over only once.

Polygram subsequently released a superior-quality double boxed set of eight CDs with studio tracks in one four-CD box and the live tracks in the other. This was followed by an excellent four-CD set of live concerts on Reprise.

An audio documentary, originally made for radio and later released on four CDs, also appeared around this time, and included previously unreleased material.

In the late 1990s, after Hendrix's father Al regained control of his son's estate, he and daughter Janie established the Experience Hendrix company to curate and promote Jimi's extensive recorded legacy.

Working in collaboration with Jimi's original engineer, Eddie Kramer, the company embarked on an extensive reissue program, including fully remastered editions of the studio albums and compilation CDs of remixed and remastered tracks intended for the First Rays of the New Rising Sun album.

To date, the Experience Hendrix company has made more than $44 million from the recordings and associated merchandising. Since his death, over 2 million records of his music are sold yearly.


• "When I die, just keep playing the records."
• "When the power of love overcomes the love of power... the world will know peace"
• "I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to"
• "Music is my religion."
• "It's funny how most people love the dead, once you're dead you're made for life."
• "Music is a safe type of high. It's more the way it was supposed to be. That's where highness came, I guess, from anyway. It's nothing but rhythm and motion."
• "The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar."

Musical equipment

• Fender
o Stratocaster; his main guitar...strung upside down because he was left handed o Jaguar
o Fender Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster (1961)
o Fender Telecaster
o Fender Jazzmaster
• Gibson
o Gibson Les Paul
o Gibson SG
o Gibson Flying V (1967 and 1968 makes)
o Gibson 330
o Gibson Firebird
• Others
o Danelectro Shorthorn (1959)
o Supro Ozark 1560S Electric
o Three Rickenbackers - a bass, a 6-, and a 12-string guitar
o Martin D-45, new when bought
o Hofner electric
o Guild 12-string acoustic
o Gibson stereo
o Black Widow acoustic (Mr. Hendrix salvaged it)
o two Hagstrom 8-string basses (Jimi played them on "Spanish Castle Magic" on Axis:Bold As Love)
Eric Barrett adds that Jimi generally had more than one of everything, except the Rickenbackers.

• Marshall Amplifiers
• Fender Amplifiers
• Vox Amplifiers
• SUNN Amplifiers.

Effect Pedals
• Dallas Arbiter Group Fuzz Face, a fuzzbox
• Dunlop Cry Baby
• Echoplex (models EP-1, EP-2 or EP-3; it is rumored he had a custom one with a variable speed control)
• Roger Mayer Octavia
• Thomas Organ Crybaby wah-wah
• Univox Univibe
• Vox Clyde McCoy (wah-wah)


Studio albums

• Are You Experienced (May 1967 – UK; August 1967 – US) UK #2; US #5
• Axis: Bold as Love (December 1967) UK #5; US #3
• Electric Ladyland (September 1968) UK #5; US #1
• First Rays of the New Rising Sun (recorded 1969-1970, released April 1997) UK #37; US #49 - This album is actually a 'best guess' as to how Hendrix planned to sequence it, and one should not presume that it is the exact final work that Hendrix intended.

However, there is adequate documentation of Hendrix's plans to consider this a reasonable representation of what would have been his next studio release, had he not passed away.

Live albums
• Band of Gypsys (April 1970) UK #5; US #5

Selected Live albums released after Hendrix's death • In The West (1972)
• Jimi Plays Monterey (1986)
• Live at Woodstock (July 1999)
• Live at Berkeley (1st and 2nd show) (September 2003)
• Band of Gypsys Live at the Fillmore East (1999)

Selected Compilations
• Smash Hits (April 1968 – UK; July 1969 – US) UK #5; US #6
• Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix (September 1997 – UK; November 1998 – US)
• Blues (April 1994)
• BBC Sessions (June 1998)
• The Ultimate Experience (April 1993) • The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set) (September 2000)
• Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Collection (2002)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jimi Hendrix".