Late 1960s were good happy times, the electric guitar ruled the sounds in night clubs and large audience live performances.
With a sleek 5-inch afro hair, bell bottom pants and platform shoes while strapped with an electric guitar, left-handed “Jimi” Hendrix always walked to the stage before 1960’s happy fans ready to party.
Born James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix was an American musician, singer, and songwriter and 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.
In his book “Stone Free” American music journalist Jas Obrecht recounts how French paper Eure Éclair described Hendrix as: “a singer-guitarist with bushy hair, an unpleasant cocktail of James Brown and Chuck Berry, who did a 15-minute contortionist act on stage and played the guitar with his teeth”.
With his innovative style and extreme performances, he revolutionized rock music like no other- many fans revere Jimi Hendrix as the best guitarist of all time. His band became known as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, combining American and British blues styles with R&B and rock. The sound combined hard rock and groovy elements; it was sexy and psychedelic at the same time.
As a child, Jimi was crazy about playing the guitar- born in Seattle in 1942, and was raised mainly by his father Al, since his mother struggled with family life.
Coming from a poor background, he never considered going to college, and joined the army in 1961 instead, a way for young Black men to make a decent living.
But after spending only one year with the paratroopers, Hendrix broke his ankle during a jump and had to be discharged from duty. That’s when Hendrix started to accompany different R&B bands.
“I know I can’t sing; I’m primarily a guitarist. Some people think I’m good, and that’s what I want to find out. I’ve been working with myself and my ideas for 21 years. Now I want to find out from everyone else if they are any good,” he was quoted.
In 1966, Hendrix had moved from the US to London, where music producer Chas Chandler was in the midst of gathering together a band centered around the exceptionally talented performer, who was only in his mid-20s then.
“I just called my dad once when I came to England to let him know I’d reached something. He asked me who I had robbed to get the money to go to England,” Hendrix said after arriving in London.
“Actually, I’m scared to go home. My father is a very strict man. He would straight away grab hold of me, tear my clothes off and cut my hair,” he said.
Today in history, Hendrix died on September 18th 50 years ago, aged just 27. In just four years he changed the face of rock music forever. Born in NY, he rose to fame in London, but his first concerts with the Jimmy Hendrix Experience were here in France, thanks to teen rock idol Johnny Hallyday.