James (Jimi) Marshal Hendrix is quite possibly one of the greatest and most influential artists to walk this planet. Jimi
Hendrix was born November 27, 1942 in Seattle Washington. He was into music his entire life; he used to love listening to
his dads R&B blues records. Jimi got his first guitar when he was only five years old. He didnt know how to read or write
music so he played it all by listening to it. He slowly started playing songs off his fathers records, and songs he heard
off the radio. Jimi got his first electric guitar when he was 12 years old, which was the object which changed his life. Jimi
played in a few teenage bands throughout high school although nothing really big. At the age of 17 he joined the army. After
only fourteen short months he was discharged due to an injury.
After the army is when Jimi started his guitar career. The next several years Jimi played back-up guitar
for several R&B bands such as Little Richard, Ike and Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, and the Isley Brothers. In 1966, Jimi
formed a band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, in which he played guitar and sang. His band was popular and played regularly
in Greenwich Village, which is where he ended up meeting with Chas Chandler, the former bass player for the Animals. Chandler
was very impressed after watching Jimi play and at the end of the show invited him to come to London. Chas became their manager
and they left for London. After becoming manager Chas changed Jimis name from Jimmy to Jimi because it was more creative and
catches your attention.
In October the Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.
Their first song they recorded was Hey Joe which was released by the end of the year. Jimi Hendrix became popular all throughout
England. Their next two songs Wind Cries Mary and Purple Haze became hits. In May, 1967 Jimis song Are you Experienced? was
released and went up to number two on the charts and remained there for the rest of the year. Several months later the band
broke up and went there separate ways. Jimi literally become a sensation overnight after his stunning performance at the Monterey
Pop Festival, which he ended by hold his guitar over his head while it was engulfed in flames.
In America he built a recording studio in New York called, Electric Lady Studios. After spending great amounts
of time in his studio he came out with a much anticipated album Electric Ladyland. After a lot of touring and a lot of hardships
the band split in 1969. That summer brought a lot of emotional and musical development to Jimis career. He played the Woodstock
Music and Art Fair in August. Jimi played along side a diverse group called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows. The performance reached
its peak when Jimi played a mangled version of Star Spangled Banner. Nineteen sixty-nine also brought about a new and defining
alliance featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Billy Cox as the bassist and Buddy Miles as the Electric Flag drummer. Performing
as the Band of Gypsys, this trio launched a series of four stellar New Year's performances.
These performances were compiled and later released on the quintessential Band of Gypsys album in mid-1970.
Later in 1970 Jimi brought back old drummer and old friend Mitch Mitchell. With him, Jimi, and Billy Cox on bass, they once
again formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They recorded several tracks for a new album that was supposed to be called First
Rays Of The New Rising Sun. To the dismay of many people, Jimi never got to see the finished product of this album due to
a drug overdose. Apparently he took sever too many sleeping pills after a night of drinking and died sleeping next to his
girlfriend. Quite some time after his death, his album First Rays of the New Rising Sun was finally released. Although Jimis
life was short lived he made one of the biggest impacts in music history. He changed the sound of music and shaped what an
electric guitar should sound like. Jimi took the gift that he had and shared it with the world, and to this day is one of
the most popular musicians ever to have lived.
thanks to Nic Barger for writing this article.