Facts about Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix died at 27 years old
Best known as: Performer of "Purple Haze"

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Jimi Hendrix Biography

Name at birth: Johnny Allen Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix grabbed the electric guitar by the neck and wrestled it into a new era. His feedback-heavy solos and hallucinogenic tunes helped define the psychedelic 1960s.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Jimi Hendrix enrolled in the U.S. Army at age 18 but was discharged the next year. He turned to music, moving to Tennessee and playing as a backup guitarist with increasingly prominent groups.

Eventually he formed his own band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The band recorded three seminal studio albums: Are You Experienced? (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (also 1967), and Electric Ladyland (1968, including Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan‘s tune “All Along the Watchtower”). Hendrix was a virtuoso of a new kind of purely electric guitar: rough-edged and aggressive, by turns rhythmic and psychedelic. The single “Purple Haze” from Are You Experienced remains one of rock’s touchstone classics.

The band broke up in 1969 but Hendrix remained a star, playing later that year at the Woodstock music festival. Hendrix was only 27 when he suffocated in 1970 in a London hotel after ingesting wine and far too many sleeping pills. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

Extra credit

Jimi Hendrix, like Paul McCartney, was a left-handed guitar player… Jimi Hendrix’s fuzz-guitar version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock has become a famous sound clip… He died two short weeks before another rock icon, Janis Joplin… A museum and interactive shrine to Jimi Hendrix, called the Experience Music Project, was built in Seattle by computer magnate Paul Allen.


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