Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix 1967.png
Hendrix performing on the Dutch television show Hoepla in 1967
Background information
Birth nameJohnny Allen Hendrix
Born(1942-11-27)November 27, 1942
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
DiedSeptember 18, 1970(1970-09-18) (aged 27)
Kensington, London, UK
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
Instruments
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1963–1970
Labels
Associated acts
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army

James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".[1]

Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and trained as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division; he was granted an honorable discharge the following year. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the Chitlin' Circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers' backing band and later with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-1965. He then played with Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after being discovered by Linda Keith, who in turn interested bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals in becoming his first manager.[2] Within months, Hendrix had earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary". He achieved fame in the U.S. after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the U.S.; it was Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his first and only number one album. The world's highest-paid performer, he headlined the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, before his accidental death from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.

Hendrix was inspired musically by American rock and roll and electric blues. He favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain, and was instrumental in popularizing the previously undesirable sounds caused by guitar amplifier feedback. He was also one of the first guitarists to make extensive use of tone-altering effects units, such as fuzz tone, Octavia, wah-wah, and Uni-Vibe in mainstream rock. He was the first artist to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone commented: "Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began."[3]

Hendrix was the recipient of several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year, and in 1968, Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked the band's three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time, and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.

Ancestry and childhood

A black and white image (c.1912) of two well-dressed people in their early 20s to late 30s.
Hendrix's paternal grandparents, Ross and Nora Hendrix, pre-1912

Jimi Hendrix had a diverse heritage.[4][5] His paternal grandmother, Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, was African American and one-quarter Cherokee.[6][nb 1] Hendrix's paternal grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix (born 1866), was born out of an extramarital affair between a woman named Fanny, and a grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio, or Illinois, one of the wealthiest men in the area at that time.[8][9][nb 2] After Hendrix and Moore relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, had a son they named James Allen Hendrix on June 10, 1919; the family called him "Al".[11]

In 1941 after moving to Seattle, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance; they married on March 31, 1942.[12] Lucille's father (Jimi's maternal grandfather) was Preston Jeter (born 1875), whose mother was born in similar circumstances as Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix.[13] Lucille's mother, née Clarice Lawson, had African American and Cherokee ancestors.[14] Al, who had been drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding.[15] Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle; he was the first of Lucille's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.[16][nb 3]

Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth.[18][nb 4] During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise their son.[20] When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends, especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding.[21] Al received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on September 1, 1945. Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to the Berkeley, California, home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and had attempted to adopt Hendrix; this is where Al saw his son for the first time.[22]

After returning from service, Al reunited with Lucille, but his inability to find steady work left the family impoverished. They both struggled with alcohol, and often fought when intoxicated. The violence sometimes drove Hendrix to withdraw and hide in a closet in their home.[23] His relationship with his brother Leon (born 1948) was close but precarious; with Leon in and out of foster care, they lived with an almost constant threat of fraternal separation.[24] In addition to Leon, Hendrix had three younger siblings: Joseph, born in 1949, Kathy in 1950, and Pamela, 1951, all of whom Al and Lucille gave up to foster care and adoption.[25] The family frequently moved, staying in cheap hotels and apartments around Seattle. On occasion, family members would take Hendrix to Vancouver to stay at his grandmother's. A shy and sensitive boy, he was deeply affected by his life experiences.[26] In later years, he confided to a girlfriend that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a man in uniform.[27] On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced; the court granted Al custody of him and Leon.[28]

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Afrikaans: Jimi Hendrix
العربية: جيمي هندريكس
aragonés: Jimi Hendrix
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Aymar aru: Jimi Hendrix
azərbaycanca: Cimi Hendriks
беларуская: Джымі Хендрыкс
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Джымі Гэндрыкс
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български: Джими Хендрикс
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Ελληνικά: Τζίμι Χέντριξ
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македонски: Џими Хендрикс
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Bahasa Melayu: Jimi Hendrix
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂျင်မီဟင်းဒရစ်
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norsk nynorsk: Jimi Hendrix
occitan: Jimi Hendrix
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русиньскый: Джімі Гендрікс
sicilianu: Jimi Hendrix
Simple English: Jimi Hendrix
slovenčina: Jimi Hendrix
slovenščina: Jimi Hendrix
српски / srpski: Џими Хендрикс
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jimi Hendrix
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Tagalog: Jimi Hendrix
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українська: Джимі Гендрікс
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