Jimi Hendrix was born 79 years ago today! The legendary singer and musician is regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history, and tops ‘best guitarist of all time’ polls. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as ‘arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music’.
Hendrix was born in Seattle, and started playing the guitar at the age of 15. He quickly picked up the instrument, inspired by blues and rock and roll. After he was medically discharged from the army, Jimi worked as a freelance musician. He was a backing musician for many famous acts, including Ike and Tina Turner and Sam Cooke. However, he felt limited in this role, and set out on his own.
His foray into fame came in 1966, when he was discovered in New York and brought to London. It was here that he first found success when he formed the band The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix had many hits in his short career, including All Along the Watcher, The Wind Cries Mary and Purple Haze. A year after arriving in London he returned to the USA, where his career boomed after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival.
In his career he created three studio albums, and three live albums. Although Jimi passed away at a young age, his legacy is still alive today. Even some of the most famous and influential artists have been captivated by his abilities, including Eric Clapton.
“He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn’t in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it … He walked off, and my life was never the same again”.