The scintillating short life of Jimi Hendrix

James Marshall Hendrix or Jimi as he was known is still regarded as one of the greatest and most talented Guitarist the world has ever seen. And all of this reputation is built on just four years of really mainstream interest in his music. The plaudits for him are endless, modern musicians of Rock and other genres hold him up as the pinnacle of performance and his art.  Guitar Shops Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Scotland, The USA any part of the world that has one will somewhere have a picture to him or a book of his music for you to learn and play. To save time, why not pop along to and see for yourself.

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He was born in Seattle, Washington in 1942. To say that he was of mixed race would be an understatement. His Grandfather was an African American and his Grandmother came from the Cherokee nation.  Seattle was to give us many great rock guitarists over the years but Hendrix was the first of a generation to come out of this Eastern USA city. He began early on the acoustic guitar at aged 15. He was heavily influenced by the blues of Muddy Waters and BB King. Before that he had practiced and pretended with a broom. That’s about the closest we could ever hope to emulate his skill.

His first role was as a paratrooper in the United States army. After being discharged with honour he decided to embark on a career in music. He soon became a popular figure with many big groups as a backing guitarist with the Isley brothers and one of the other greatest Rock and Roll artists Little Richard. He soon tired of being a backing guy and after moving to New York he formed Jimmy James and the Blues Flames who enjoyed some success on the Club scene.

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It was a chance meeting with Keith Richards’s girlfriend Linda Keith who introduced him to producers. Chas Chandler, ex of the Animals, was so impressed with his cover version of the song Hey Joe that he took him to London in 1966 and began to build a band around him to show case his talents. With Noel Redding on Bass and Mitch Mitchell on Drums the Jimi Hendrix experience was born. They were not just a rock band as Hendrix himself defined them “I’d like it to be called, ‘Free Feeling’. It’s a mixture of rock, freak-out, rave and blues”. This heady mix was to explode upon the music scene.  Several landmark albums, Are You experienced? and Electric Lady Land (featuring one of the most controversial album covers ever) and a series of tours and performances (see the link above for one of the most electrifying) that would cement his reputations the greatest.

He died at the stupidly young age of 27. He was burnt out by performance, expectation and also Drugs and Alcohol abuse. His legacy though remains. A man who could play the guitar with his teeth, behind his head and then set fire to it generally does.

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