Jimi Hendrix
The Legendary Musician


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Early Years

Jimi as a child
Jimi as a child
"Music is my religion." Born with the name of "James Marshall Hendrix" in November 27, 1942, Jimi grew up in Seattle, Washington. He was a child who's very passionate about music. Unfortunately, these dreams of a little child would sometimes be hindered by some family issues.

His father, Al Hendrix, always had a stormy relationship with Jimi's drunkard mother, Lucille Jeter, who would always disappear. After giving birth to two more children, Leon and Joseph, Lucille eventually left the family. Al took custody of his three sons and cared for them. Jimi and his brothers were often in care of relatives or other people since their father needs to work hard.
As Jimi grew up, his father, who was once a talented jazz dancer, became aware of Jimi's love for music.At first, Jimi received a one-stringed ukelele. However, as he turned twelve, Al Hendrix finally gave Jimi an acoustic guitar. As a left-handed person, Jimi had to turn the guitar upside down. Jimi taught himself how to play a guitar by himself. He was inspired by the songs of great artists like B.B King and Muddy Waters. When Jimi turned fourteen he saw Elvis Presley perform on stage. Inspired by another great artist, Jimi received an electric guitar of his own when he turned fifteen and eventually played with the bands "The Rocking Kings" and "Tomcats."


Growing Reputation

Jimi Hendrix dropped out of Garfield High School in Seattle the following year when he played with bands. His mother, Lucille who was away from them, died in the year 1958. In the following year, Jimi dropped out of school from the Garfield High School in Seattle. He took many jobs while still striving to reach his dream.
In 1961, he joined the army and trained at Fort Ord in California to become a paratrooper. Soon, Jimi was flying around in parachutes as a soldier. He met Billy Cox, a fellow soldier. Billy was a bassist and both of them entertained the soldiers with their skills with guitars. In the year 1962, however, Jimi was discharged from the army due to an injury.

Now that he was gone from the army, he was now focusing on his dream to be a musician. He worked as a backup musician for performers Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and the Isley Brothers. Jimi also formed bands of his own such as "Jimmy James and the Blue Flames." This band of his plays gigs around the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City. As time went by, though, Jimi formed the band called "King Kasuals" with his former comrade, Billy Cox. His life as a musician continued and Jimi kept entertaining people with his mastery of playing guitar.

Achieved Dream

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience
In the year 1966, Hendrix met Chas Chandler, a former member of a rock group called "Animals," who then became his manager. Chandler made Jimi go to London to form a band with Mitch Mitchell as the drummer and Noel Redding as the bassist. This trio was called "The Jimi Hendrix Experience." Soon, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was admired by many people and many other musicians such as members of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. The band's first single, "Hey Joe" was loved by many people, along with other many huge hits such as "Purple Haze" and "The Wind Cried Mary." These songs were released in the year 1967.

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Jimi with his guitar on fire
As The Jimi Hendrix Experience promoted their album, Are You Experienced? during a tour in the same year, Jimi enjoyed playing and entertained the audience. He played his guitar behind his back, or with his teeth, while singing. Jimi's mastery was shown through these unique ways of playing guitar. He also amazed his fans in a performance during the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. In this performance, Jimi ended their song by lighting his guitar on fire. Since then, Jimi stopped doing stunts like these. Many complained about it that it was dangerous.

As Hendrix's band was becoming famous, the band continued to compose and play songs. In the year 1968, they managed to create two albums that were very famous. The albums were called Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland which was a huge hit. The Jimi Hendrix Experience spent the rest of the year touring, and eventually disbanded in the year 1969.

Secret

Although Jimi became famous, he was not happy at all with his life. He was very problematic. His problems were so big that it led him to take a wrong path in his life: Drugs. Before most of his concerts, Hendrix would take a couple of drugs such as LCD or heroin. This explains why Jimi would be so energetic during his concerts. So energetic that it made him to light his guitar on fire or smash his guitar on the ground.
One of his problems would be a management problem with one of his managers, Ed Chalpin. Chalpin sued his own contract with Hendrix, which caused problems for many years. The rest of the managers decided to save money on recording costs by building their own studio. To pay for the studio, they forced The Jimi Hendrix Experience to tour endlessly. This was the reason why they disbanded.
Hendrix still had many problems in his life other than this matter. Nobody really knows the others since Hendrix does not talk about it much. His problems were too much for him. This led to a miserable decision.

Last Moments

In the same year in 1969, Jimi Hendrix performed in a famous musical event: The Woodstock Festival. In this performance, Hendrix amazed all the audience with his version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with his electric guitar.

In late 1969, Hendrix attempted to work yet again with another band. They named it "Band of Gypsys" with his former comrade Billy Cox as bassist, and with Buddy Miles as the drummer. The band was working on album called First Rays of the New Rising Sun, but did not finish because Jimi Hendrix passed away.

Legendary Musician

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Hendrix with Monika
At the age of twenty-seven, Hendrix died in September 18, 1970. He was found senseless in Monika Dannemann, his German girlfriend's hotel room in London. It was reported that Hendrix choked on his own vomit after taking nine vesperax sleeping pills. Jimi then died the next morning in St. Mary Abbots Hospital, South Kensington.
Though dead, Hendrix was still remembered by many people. In 1992, he was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And the next year, Jimi received the Grammy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, his father, Al Hendrix, published a biography of Jimi's family life. It was titled My Son Jimi.
Even today, Jimi Hendrix is still known by many musicians and people. He changed the music history with his unique skills. Jimi Hendrix's name would still remain in history. Many musicians are striving to be as good as him in playing guitar. According to one journalist in Berkeley Tribe, "Jimi Hendrix could get more out of an electric guitar than anyone else. He was the ultimate guitar player."
Even today, no one can play the guitar just as Jimi Hendrix does.


Information Sources:


http://www.biography.com/articles/Jimi-Hendrix-9334756?part=0
http://www.notablebiographies.com/He-Ho/Hendrix-Jimi.html
http://www.8notes.com/biographies/hendrix.asp
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jimi_hendrix_2.html


Here is a video of Jimi Hendrix's unique skills of playing guitar with his teeth and behind his back. This song is also part of The Jimi Hendrix Experiece's first album, titled Hey Joe: