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The history of Jimi Hendrix
	The extraordinary performances, recording, and lyrics of 
James Marshall Hendrix have made him impossible to forget. This 
American rock music guitarist made a legendary mark not only in 
the history of rock 'n' roll but also on the pop culture as a 
whole (Ross 32). With unique techniques never seen before and 
blatant sex-related performances on stage, he became one of the 
most influential music figures of the 60s (Kamin). 
Hendrix was not born into stardom nor was it given to him by 
any means. He strived all throughout his life to be the very 
best. Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in 
Seattle, Washington to Al and Lucille Hendrix, and not until four 
years later did his father change his son's name to James 
Marshall Hendrix. He certainly did not lead an easy life with 
his sporadic schooling and his parents' divorce in 1958. Added 
to the building pressures, his mother died just one year later 
("Jimi", Rolling 42). 

Hendrix purchased his first guitar in 1958, probably to
relieve tensions as it was the same year his parents divorced.
It was a used acoustic for which he paid only five dollars. At
the age of seventeen with only one year's playing experience, he joined his first band, the Rocking Kings. It may be hard to
imagine because of his image, but Hendrix was also in the Army for a brief period of time. He was soon discharged as a result of "medical unsuitability" after a parachuting accident in which he landed on his ankle ("Jimi", Rolling 42). He ventured back to his hometown of Seattle and began playing with Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). He seized the opportunity to go on the road after being discovered by Little Richard in 1963 but soon regretted the decision because he felt the tour was degrading, and he was constrained as being a sideman to Richard.
His guitar was used  as little more than a background rhythm instrument,
but Hendrix developed his playing talent and soon discovered how to gain 
control and take lead of the music. Unfortunately, he never was 
able to get Richard to realize his talents, so he abandoned 
Richard's tour in St. Louis (Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). 
After aimlessly wandering for awhile, Hendrix found himself 
in Atlanta and once again teamed up with Little Richard. The 
tour brought them to Los Angeles where he then went in his own 
direction. He hooked up with Richard for a third time during the 
summer of 1964 to record an album in which he again felt confined 
as being only a backup to Little Richard (Wolters, 

Hendrix later joined the budding musician Arthur Lee, but 
the partnership did not last long as he once again set out in 
search of his own identity (Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). He 
embarked as a traveling musician for various tours backing such 
artists as Ike and Tina Turner, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, B.B. 
King, Chuck Berry, King Curtis, Solomon Burke, Chuck Jackson, 
Jackie Wilson, and several others (Wolters, "Hendrix"). 
On his next endeavor, he teamed up with saxophonist Lonnie 
Youngblood. The pair was short-lived as Hendrix soon split, and 
his adventurous spirit ended him up in New York where he rented a 
small, cheap apartment and drifted from job to dead-end job 
(Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). 
The spring of 1964 brought better luck to Hendrix. Ronnie 
Isley of the Isley Brothers hired him on the spot as lead 
guitarist after hearing him play for only a short amount of time. 
He lived with the group for a few months, and they actually 
purchased him his first Fender guitar ("Jimi, Rolling 44). The 
band toured in 1964 and also released some albums, but Hendrix 
was still dissatisfied with his situation. He grew tired of the 
group and left the Isleys to join Curtis Knight and the Squires 
(Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). 
Not long had the group been playing in the New Jersey area 
when Keith Richard, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, caught a 
glimpse of the stand-out guitarist and wanted to help the young, 
developing musician. He brought Hendrix to the attention of 
important music industry people ("Jimi", Facts 425). On October 
15, 1965, Hendrix signed his first recording contract with Ed 
Chalpin and PPX Productions in which he was paid a single dollar 
and promised one percent royalty on all future record sales 
(Wolters, "Pre-Experience"). 
Surprisingly, he only released five albums while he was 
alive. They include, in order, Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold 
As Love, Electric Ladyland, Band of Gypsys, and Cry of Love 
(Wolters, "Discography"). 
He formed his dynamic rock band on October 12, 1966 and 
called it the Jimi Hendrix Experience, a name that will never be 
forgotten. The peculiar spelling of his name was of his 
manager's invention. In the group, Hendrix jammed on lead 
guitar; Noel Redding played bass, and Mitch Mitchell played drums 
(Wilmer 19). The trio was comprised of three very different 
personalities, but Hendrix led them in their eccentric hair and 
dress styles, wild stage behavior, and most of all, the 
unprecedented music the group delivered to their public (Kamin). 
It seemed as if Hendrix, in all his radiance, actually stimulated 
the other members of the group when they played on stage together 
(Wilmer 20). 
He created sounds new to the rock 'n' roll scene which 
included wah-wah, feedback, phasing, fuzz tone, distortion, and 
other effects. Hendrix also assimilated different styles of 
music such as hard rock, jazz, R & B, blues, funk, and pop to 
form music with a new twist (O'Connor 56). He played the guitar 
with his hands, feet, legs, and mouth which was definitely 
chaotic but also full of expression, emotion, and not to mention 
eroticism (Fornatale 21). His music helped rock 'n' roll become 
a part of growing up in the 60s generation, even though the 
Experience was often criticized for getting too violent on stage 
by destroying instruments during performances (Archer 96; Wilmer 
Their first album reached the public in July 1967. It was a 
bigger hit in England than in America but spent many weeks on the 
charts in both countries. The album was certified platinum, and 
the popularity of the band sky-rocketed. Tours were rapidly 
booked, and the Experience ended up playing on 108 dates in 1967 
alone (Wolters, "Discography"). Along with the gift of fame came 
humility as Hendrix's life became an open book publicized by 
tabloids and media. Nevertheless, the band played on ("Jimi", 
Rolling 44). 
On June 18, 1967 the Experience performed at the Monterey 
Pop Festival in California. Hendrix and the other members 
received an exceptional welcome home to America after the 
grueling nine-month tour in England. Over 50,000 members of the 
hippie subculture were in attendance at the sold-out concert. 
Hendrix stunned the entire audience with his amazing 
guitar-burning finale. He set fire to his most prized 
possession, his Fender Stratocaster, as a heartfelt thanksgiving 
to his devoted fans ("Jimi", Rolling 44-45). Hendrix proved his 
legendary talent at the amazing concert and earned the name "acid 
king of the guitar" (Daniel 967). 
The release of the group's second album, Axis: Bold As 
Love, came a year later in December 1967 after much hard work. 
The original album recording was lost, and deadlines caused the 
band to have to remix it in its entirety in just under eleven 
hours ("Jimi", Rolling 45). It was certified platinum, and 
Hendrix gained even more loyal supporters. He was completely 
dedicated to his music and not only slept with his guitar but 
also spent his every waking moment playing it (Wolters, 
He had already begun work on Electric Ladyland, the 
Experience's third album, in the middle of 1967. The album was a 
reflection of his life, and the music was filled with melancholy, 
angst, loneliness, and fear ("Jimi", Rolling 45). It took a year 
to complete simply because Hendrix was a perfectionist and 
strived to get every piece of his music exactly the way he 
envisioned it. The hard work paid off as it was the only number 
one album for Hendrix. However, the non-stop recording and tour 
schedules foreshadowed what each of the members knew would come 
soon, the end of the Experience (Wolters, "Discography"). 
The band performed almost daily; after spending five months 
touring throughout eastern Europe, they came straight to America 
on February 1, 1968 with no break in between tours. The final 
concert played by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was at the Denver 
Pop Festival at the end of a U.S. tour (Wolters, "Discography"). 
June 29, 1969 brought the end of the Experience. After 
Hendrix's band decided to call it quits, Hendrix made an 
appearance on the Tonight Show and was backed by the show's own 
house band (Wolters, "Discography"). 
Next, he emerged with an all-black group, the Band of 
Gypsys, with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. Some 
people believed he did this as a result of the Black Panthers 
urging him to speak out during his time of stardom for the black 
power movement and redeem rock 'n' roll as the rightful music of 
blacks ("Jimi", Rolling 45). On New Year's Eve of 1969, his 
new band made their debut at the Fillmore East in New York. Many 
fans feel this was the climax of Hendrix's career, and his set of 
performances at the event went down in history as one of the most 
remarkable rock concerts ever (Wolters, "Discography"). 
The short-lived Band of Gypsys stayed together for five 
months and only performed a total of five concerts. Be that as 
it may, they seemed to encounter many problems during the brief 
period of time they were together. The management disliked the 
fact that all the members were black, and Hendrix was in dispute 
over several lawsuits concerning recording rights (Wolters, 
"Discography"). Their funds disappeared fast, and interviews and 
tours seemed to drag them down even further. Even so, the group 
pressed on with their desire to achieve greatness ("Jimi", 
Rolling 94). 
The Band of Gypsys was hired to headline the Woodstock 
Festival, a three day outdoor concert in August of 1969 with over 
twenty musical numbers. The event took place on Max Yasgar's 
600-acre farm in Bethel, New York near the town of Woodstock. 
The three-day festival was delayed six days because the hot 
weather was stifling, and the rain refused to quit (Kohut). 
Twenty-mile long traffic jams gave Hendrix no choice but to 
be airlifted to the stage. His most striking performance at the 
event was a psychedelic rock version of the "Star Spangled 
Banner" even though he went on stage at 5:00 Monday morning and 
the crowd of half a million had died down to only a few thousand. 
He was paid $125,000 for the event, and the trio went down in 
history as one of the highest-paid rock bands ever (Wolters, 
The Band of Gypsys' self-titled first album was released May 
20, 1970 by Capitol Records and certified gold. Although the 
perfectionist Hendrix was not really satisfied with the album, he 
had no control over it reaching the public because it was part of 
a contract he had signed years earlier and was forced to honor 
(Wolters, "Discography"). 
In February 1970, drummer Mitch Mitchell from the Experience 
hooked up with Hendrix and Cox to replace Miles on drums. Not 
long after, Hendrix and the band traveled to his hometown of 
Seattle, to which he had not returned since his departing to 
enlist in the Army at the age of seventeen. He received a warm 
welcome and was awarded an honorarium from the school from which 
he had failed to graduate, Garfield High, and was presented with 
the keys to the city by the mayor. Before he left once again, 
Hendrix performed a concert at Sick's Stadium to display his 
gratitude (Wolters, "Discography"). 
He then disappeared from the eyes of the public until it was 
arranged that he and the band play in an event at the Magical 
Garden of the Haleakala Crater on the beautiful Hawaiian 
island of Maui. Later that month in 1970, without stopping to 
rest, the Band of Gypsys traveled back to New York in celebration 
of the grand opening of Electric Lady, the studio which Hendrix 
had always dreamed of creating. Recorded in this studio was the 
very last album before the death of Hendrix, Cry of Love 
(Wolters, "Discography"). To finish paying the costs of the 
newly opened studio, Hendrix was forced to return to touring 
("Jimi", Rolling 94). 
The traveling never seemed to end; from New York, the band 
was on their way to Europe where they were to begin yet another 
exhausting series of concerts. They were tired, and in England 
they faced non-stop rain and an uncontrollable audience. The 
tour pressed on and the three members of the group made their way 
to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Denmark, Copenhagen, Berlin, and 
finally the Isle of Fehmarn in Germany where the concert took 
place on September 6, 1970. It turned out to be a disaster 
filled with a crowd of angry German bikers. The crowd actually 
chanted "go home" to Hendrix (Wolters, "Discography"). 
After the tour was dragged out to its end, Hendrix returned 
to England to stay with his girlfriend Monika Dannemann. He 
tried his best to remain in solitude and missed important 
meetings pertaining to his contracts and other career business 
(Wolters, "Discography"). 
The life of this amazing man ceased to an abrupt and all too 
hasty end on September 18, 1970 when he was but twenty-seven 
years old. He became ill from a mixture of wine and 
quinalbarbitone, a sleeping pill prescribed not to Hendrix but to 
his girlfriend (Wolters, "Discography"). When the ambulance was 
called, they rushed to his London hotel and dashed him back to 
the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The 
attendants had carelessly laid him on his back; as a result of 
their ineptitude, he asphyxiated in his own vomit ("Jimi", 
Rolling 94). 
Fortunately, the tragic death of this young man came after 
rather than before he had contributed so much to the rock 'n' 
roll era of the 60s. Not only did he inspire black musicians to 
persevere in their careers, but he also influenced the entire pop 
culture with his unprecedented music and stunning performances. 
In the eyes of many Americans, the legendary rock music guitarist 
Jimi Hendrix will live on forever (Kamin). 

Jimi Hendrix tabs:
Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower tab and chord
Jimi Hendrix - Fire tab and chord
Jimi Hendrix - Foxey Lady tab and chord
Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe tab and chord
Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze tab and chord
Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child tab and chord

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