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songwriter. Born Johnny
Allen Hendrix (later changed to James
on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. Learning to play guitar
as a teenager, Hendrix grew up to become a rock guitar legend. He began
his career by playing in a number of bands in his youth. Hendrix later
enlisted in the United States Army in 1961 and became as a paratrooper.
Even as a soldier, Hendrix found time for music, creating a band named
The King Casuals. He served in the army until 1965 when he was
discharged because of an injury.
After leaving the military, Hendrix pursued his music, working as a
session musician and playing backup for such performers as Little
Richard, Sam Cooke, and the Isley Brothers. He also formed a group of
his own called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, which played gigs
around New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. In
mid-1966, Hendrix met Chas Chandler, a former member of the Animals, a
successful rock group, who became his manager. Chandler convinced
Hendrix to go to London where he joined forces with musicians Noel
Redding and Mitch Mitchell to create The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Released in 1967, the band's first single, “Hey Joe,”
was an instant smash in Britain, and soon followed by such other hits
as “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cried Mary.” On
tour in Europe to support his first album, Are You Experienced?,
Hendrix delighted audiences with his outrageous guitar-playing skills
and his innovative, experimental sound. He won over American music fans
with his stunning performance at the Monterey International Pop
Festival in June 1967, which ended with Hendrix lighting his guitar on
fire. Quickly becoming a rock music superstar, Hendrix scored again
with his second album, Axis: Bold as Love (1968). His final album as
part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland (1968) was
released and featured the hit “All Along the Watchtower,”
which was written by Bob Dylan. The band continued to tour until it
split up in 1969.
That same year, Hendrix performed at another legendary musical
event, the Woodstock Festival. His rock rendition of “The
Star-Spangled Banner” amazed the crowds and demonstrated his
considerable talents as a musician. He was also an accomplished
songwriter and musical experimenter. Hendrix even had his own recording
studio in which he could work with different performers and try out new
songs and sounds.
Hendrix tried his luck with another group, forming Band of Gypsys in
late 1969 with his army buddy Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. The
band never really took off, and Hendrix became working on new album
tentatively named First Rays of the New Rising Sun, with Cox and Mitch
Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Unfortunately Hendrix did
not live to complete the project.
Hendrix died on September 18, 1970, from drug-related complications.
While this talented recording artist was only 27 at the time of his
passing, Hendrix left his mark on the world of rock music and remains
popular to this day.
© 2006 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.
Official Homepage: www.jimihendrix.com
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