“I want to do with my guitar,” said Jimi Hendrix, “what Little Richard does with his voice.” To that end, Jimi deliberately distorted his live and recorded blues-rock sound via high gain and treble, overdriven amps and shrieking amplifier feedback. He was considered one of the greatest guitar players in the history of recorded music.
Seattle born singer-songwriter-guitarist James Marshall Hendrix played in a variety of band around his hometown and then elsewhere — like Tennessee, where he learned to pick guitar with his teeth. Moving to New York, Hendrix won first place in a 1964 Apollo Theatre amateur contest. That led to work backing The Isley Brothers, with whom he first recorded. After stints with Little Richard, King Curtis and even Joey Dee & the Starliters, Jimi went to England, where, in 1966, he formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. The act quickly caught on, leading to memorable concert appearances at the Monterey Pop Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Woodstock and even as an opening act for The Monkees.
The psychedelic sound of The Jimi Hendrix Experience did not mesh well with then-current Top 40 music. As a result, only one of the seven singles the group placed on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts actually cracked the Top 50: 1968’s “All Along The Watchtower” (which peaked at #20). Hendrix’s true forte was albums, including such platinum sellers as “Are You Experienced?” (1967), “Axis: Bold As Love” (1968), “Electric Ladyland” (1968), “Smash Hits” (1969) and “Band of Gypsys” (1970).
Jimi died in December 1970 at the age of 27 of a drug overdose. Despite his passing, freshly compiled collections drawn from his more than 300 recordings continue to sell. More than two dozen posthumous albums have charted, including “The Cry of Love” (1971), “Crash Landing” (1975) “Radio One” (1988) and “Voodoo Soup” (1995).
Jimi Hendrix was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992