James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is widely considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in musical history, and one of the most influential musicians of his era across a range of genres.
After initial success in Europe with his group The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he achieved fame in the United States following his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Later, Hendrix headlined the iconic 1969 Woodstock Festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. He often favored raw overdriven amplifiers with high gain and treble and helped develop the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback. Hendrix, as well as his friend Eric Clapton, popularized use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock which he often used to deliver an exaggerated pitch in his solos, particularly with high bends, complex guitar playing, and use of legato. As a record producer, Hendrix also broke new ground in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. He was one of the first to experiment with stereophonic phasing effects for rock recording.
Hendrix was influenced by blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, rhythm and blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper, and the jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Hendrix (who was then known as 'Maurice James') began dressing and wearing a moustache like Little Richard when he performed and recorded in his band from March 1, 1964 through to the spring of 1965. In 1966, Hendrix stated, "I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice."
Hendrix won many of the most prestigious rock music awards in his lifetime, and has been posthumously awarded many more, including being inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. An English Heritage blue plaque was erected in his name on his former residence at Brook Street, London, in September 1997. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 6627 Hollywood Blvd.) was dedicated in 1994. In 2006, his debut US album, Are You Experienced, was inducted into the United States National Recording Registry, and Rolling Stone named Hendrix the top guitarist on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all-time in 2003.
Born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington, the first of five children to James Allen "Al" Hendrix (10 June 1919, Vancouver, British Columbia – 17 April 2002, Renton, Washington) and Lucille Jeter (12 October 1925, Seattle, Washington – 2 February 1958, Renton, Washington). He was part Cherokee. His father was a soldier in the United States Army stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma at the time of his birth, before he was shipped to France in World War II. When he was two years old, his mother placed him in the temporary care of friends in Berkeley. His father received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on September 1, 1945, and retrieved his eldest son and legally changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix in memory of his late brother, Leon Marshall Hendrix. He was known as "Buster" to friends and family, from birth. After his return, Al reunited with Lucille. He found it difficult to gain steady employment after the Second World War, and the family was impoverished.
Hendrix had two brothers, Leon and Joseph, and two sisters, Kathy and Pamela. Joseph was born with physical difficulties and was placed in foster care at age three. His two sisters were also both placed in foster care at a young age. Kathy was born blind and Pamela suffered lesser physical difficulties.
On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced. His mother developed cirrhosis of the liver and died on February 2, 1958, when the state of her liver caused her spleen to rupture. On occasion, he was placed in the care of his paternal grandmother in Vancouver, British Columbia because of the unstable household, and his brother Leon was placed in foster care temporarily. Hendrix was a shy and sensitive boy, deeply affected by the poverty and family disruption he experienced at a young age. Unusual for his era, Hendrix's high school had a relatively equitable ethnic mix of African Americans, European Americans, and Asian Americans. At age 15, around the time his mother died, he acquired his first acoustic guitar for $5 from an acquaintance of his father. This guitar replaced both the broomstick he had been strumming in imitation, and a ukulele which his father had found while cleaning a garage. Hendrix learned to play by practicing for several hours a day, watching others play, getting tips from more experienced players, and listening to records. In mid-1959, his father bought Hendrix a white Supro Ozark, his first electric guitar, but there was no available amplifier. According to fellow Seattle bandmates, he learned most of his acrobatic stage moves, a major part of the blues/R&B tradition, including playing with his teeth and behind his back, from a fellow young musician, Raleigh "Butch" Snipes, guitarist with local band The Sharps. Hendrix himself performed Chuck Berry's trademark "duck walk" on occasion. Hendrix played in a couple of local bands, occasionally playing outlying gigs in Washington State and at least once over the border in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Hendrix was particularly fond of Elvis Presley, whom he saw perform in Seattle, in 1957. Leon Hendrix claimed in an early interview that Little Richard appeared in his Central District neighborhood and shook hands with his brother, Jimi. This is unattested elsewhere and vehemently denied by his father. He also claimed that Richard was visiting his mother there at the time, when Richard's mother actually lived in Los Angeles. Hendrix's early exposure to blues music came from listening to records by Muddy Waters and B.B. King which his father owned. Another early impression came from the 1954 western Johnny Guitar, in which the hero carries no gun but instead wears a guitar slung behind his back.
Hendrix's first gig was with an unnamed band in the basement of a synagogue, Seattle's Temple De Hirsch. After too much wild playing and showing off, he was fired between sets. The first formal band he played in was The Velvetones, who performed regularly at the Yesler Terrace Neighborhood House without pay. He later joined the Rocking Kings, who played professionally at such venues as the Birdland. When his guitar was stolen (after he left it backstage overnight), Al bought him a white Silvertone Danelectro. He painted it red and had "Betty Jean" emblazoned on it — the name of his high school girlfriend.
Hendrix completed junior high at Washington Junior High School with little trouble but did not graduate from Garfield High School. Later he was awarded an honorary diploma, and in the 1990s a bust of him was placed in the school library. After he became famous in the late 1960s, Hendrix told reporters that he had been expelled from Garfield by racist faculty for holding hands with a white girlfriend in study hall. Principal Frank Hanawalt says that it was simply due to poor grades and attendance problems.
In the Army
Hendrix got into trouble with the law twice for riding in stolen cars. He was given a choice between spending two years in prison or joining the Army. Hendrix chose the latter and enlisted on May 31, 1961. After completing basic training, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. His commanding officers and fellow soldiers considered him to be a subpar soldier: he slept while on duty, had little regard for regulations, required constant supervision, and showed no skill as a marksman. For these reasons, his commanding officers submitted a request that Hendrix be discharged from the military after he had served only one year. Hendrix did not object when the opportunity to leave arose. He would later tell reporters that he received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump. The rock music journalist Charles Cross contended in his biography of Hendrix, Room Full of Mirrors (2005) that Hendrix feigned being homosexual—claiming to have fallen in love with a fellow soldier—in order to be discharged, but did not produce credible evidence to support this contention.
At the base recreation center, Hendrix met fellow soldier and bass player Billy Cox, and the two forged a loyal friendship that Hendrix would call upon from April 1969 until Billy's breakdown shortly before Hendrix's death. The two would often perform with other musicians at venues both on and off the base as a loosely organized band there named the Casuals. As a celebrity in the UK, Hendrix mentioned his military service in three published interviews; one in 1967 for the film See My Music Talking (much later released under the title Experience), which was intended for TV to promote his recently released Axis: Bold as Love LP, in which he spoke very briefly of his first parachuting experience: "...once you get out there everything is so quiet, all you hear is the breezes-s-s-s..." This comment has later been used to claim that he was saying that this was one of the sources of his "spacy" guitar sound. The second and third mentions of his military experience were in interviews for Melody Maker in 1967 and 1969, where he spoke of his dislike of the army. In interviews in the US, Hendrix almost never mentioned it, and when Dick Cavett brought it up in his TV interview, Hendrix's only response was to verify that he had been based at Fort Campbell.
After his Army discharge, Hendrix and Army friend Billy Cox moved to nearby Clarksville, Tennessee and undertook in earnest to earn a living with their existing band. Hendrix had already seen Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and now Alphonso 'Baby Boo' Young the other guitarist in the band, was featuring this gimmick. Not to be upstaged, it was then that Hendrix learned to play with his teeth properly, according to Hendrix himself: "... the idea of doing that came to me in a town in Tennessee. Down there you have to play with your teeth or else you get shot. There’s a trail of broken teeth all over the stage..." They played mainly in low-paying gigs at obscure venues. The band eventually moved to Nashville's Jefferson Street, the traditional heart of Nashville's black community and home to a lively rhythm and blues scene. After they moved to Nashville, upon learning there was already an established band by the name "The Casuals", they amended their name to the "King Kasuals". While in Nashville, according to Cox and Larry Lee—who replaced Alphonso Young on guitar—they were basically the house band at "Club del Morocco". Hendrix and Cox shared a flat above "Joyce's House of Glamour". Hendrix's girlfriend at this time was Joyce Lucas. Bill 'Hoss' Allen's memory of Hendrix's supposed participation in a session with Billy Cox in November 1962, in which he cut Hendrix's contribution due to his over-the-top playing, has now been called into question; a suggestion has been made that he may have confused this with a later 1965 session by Frank Howard and the Commanders in which Hendrix participated. In December 1962, Hendrix visited his relatives in Vancouver, Canada, where as a child he had sometimes lived with his grandmother. It has been claimed that while there, he performed with future members of the Motown band Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, including Tommy Chong (of later Cheech & Chong fame). Chong, however, disputes this ever happened and that any such appearance is a product of Taylor's "imagination". In early 1963, Hendrix returned to the South. For the next two years, Hendrix made a living performing on a circuit of venues throughout the South catering to black audiences. These were venues affiliated with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA), sarcastically known as "Tough on Black Asses" because the audiences were very demanding. The TOBA circuit was also widely known as the Chitlin' Circuit. In addition to performing in his own band, Hendrix performed with Bob Fisher and the Bonnevilles, and in backing bands for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Chuck Jackson, Slim Harpo, Tommy Tucker, Sam Cooke, and Jackie Wilson. The Chitlin' Circuit was where Hendrix refined his style.
Feeling he had artistically outgrown the circuit and frustrated at following the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to try his luck in New York City and in January 1964 moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he soon befriended Lithofayne Pridgeon (known as "Faye", who became his girlfriend) and the Allen twins, Arthur and Albert (now known as Taharqa and Tunde-Ra Aleem). The Allen twins became friends and kept Hendrix out of trouble in New York. The twins also performed as backup singers (under the name Ghetto Fighters) on some of his recordings, most notably the song "Freedom". Pridgeon, a Harlem native with connections throughout the area's music scene, provided Hendrix with shelter, support, and encouragement. In February 1964, Hendrix won first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur contest. Hoping to land a gig, Hendrix made the club circuit and sat in with various bands. Eventually, Hendrix was offered the guitarist position with The Isley Brothers' back-up band and he readily accepted. Hendrix' first studio recording occurred in March 1964, when the Isley Brothers, with Hendrix as a member of the band, recorded the two-part single "Testify". Hendrix then went on tour with the Isley Brothers. "Testify" was released in June 1964, but did not make an impact on the charts. After touring as a member of the Isley Brothers until mid-late 1964, Hendrix grew dissatisfied and left the band in Nashville. There, he found work with the tour's MC "Gorgeous" George Odell. On March 1, 1964, Hendrix (then calling himself Maurice James) began recording and performing with Little Richard. Hendrix would later (1966) say, "I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice." During a stop in Los Angeles while touring with Little Richard in 1965, Hendrix played a session for Rosa Lee Brooks on her single "My Diary". This was his first recorded involvement with Arthur Lee of the band "Love". While in L.A., he also played on the session for Little Richard's final single for Vee-Jay, "I Don't Know What You've Got, But It's Got Me". He later made his first recorded TV appearance on Nashville's Channel 5 Night Train with "The Royal Company" backing up "Buddy and Stacy" on "Shotgun". Hendrix clashed with Richard, over tardiness, wardrobe, and, above all, Hendrix's stage antics. On tour they shared billing a couple of times with Ike and Tina Turner. It has been suggested that Hendrix left Richard and played with the Turners briefly before returning to Richard, but there is no firm evidence to support this. Hendrix mentioned playing with them, and Ike Turner shortly before his death claimed that he did, but this is emphatically denied by Tina. Months later, he was either fired or he left after missing the tour bus in Washington, D.C. He then rejoined the Isley Brothers in the summer of 1965 and recorded a second single with them, "Move Over and Let Me Dance" backed with "Have You Ever Been Disappointed" (1965 Atlantic 45-2303).
Later in 1965, Hendrix joined a New York–based R&B band, Curtis Knight and the Squires, after meeting Knight in the lobby of the Hotel America, off Times Square, where both men were living at the time. He performed on and off with them for eight months. In October 1965, Hendrix recorded a single with Curtis Knight, "How Would You Feel" backed with "Welcome Home" (1966 RSVP 1120) and on October 15 he signed a three-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin, receiving 1% royalty. While the relationship with Chalpin was short-lived, his contract remained in force, which caused considerable problems for Hendrix later on in his career. The legal dispute has continued to the present day. (Several songs (and demos) from the 1965–1966 Curtis Knight recording sessions, deemed not worth releasing at the time, were marketed as "Jimi Hendrix" recordings after he became famous.) Aside from Curtis Knight and the Squires, Hendrix then toured for two months with Joey Dee and the Starliters.
In between performing with Curtis Knight in 1966, Hendrix toured and recorded with King Curtis. Hendrix recorded the two-part single "Help Me (Get the Feeling)" with Ray Sharpe and the King Curtis Orchestra (1966 Atco 45-6402) (the backing track was subsequently overdubbed by other vocalists with different lyrics and released as new songs). Later in 1966, Hendrix also recorded with Lonnie Youngblood, a saxophone player who occasionally performed with Curtis Knight. The sessions produced two singles for Youngblood: "Go Go Shoes"/"Go Go Place" (Fairmount F-1002) and "Soul Food (That's What I Like)"/"Goodbye Bessie Mae" (Fairmount F-1022). Additionally, singles for other artists came out of the sessions: The Icemen's "(My Girl) She's a Fox"/ "(I Wonder) What It Takes" (1966 SAMAR S-111) and Jimmy Norman's "You're Only Hurting Yourself"/"That Little Old Groove Maker" (1966 SAMAR S-112). As with the King Curtis recordings, backing tracks and alternate takes for the Youngblood sessions would be overdubbed and otherwise manipulated to create many "new" tracks.(Many Youngblood tracks without any Hendrix involvement would later be marketed as "Jimi Hendrix" recordings). Also around this time in 1966, Hendrix got his first composer credits for two instrumentals "Hornets Nest" and "Knock Yourself Out", released as a Curtis Knight and the Squires single (1966 RSVP 1124).
Hendrix, now going by the name Jimmy James, formed his own band, The Blue Flame, composed of Randy Palmer (bass), Danny Casey (drums), a 15-year-old guitarist who played slide and rhythm named Randy Wolfe, and the occasional stand in June 1966.
Since there were two musicians named "Randy" in the group, Hendrix dubbed Wolfe "Randy California" (as he had recently moved from there to New York City) and Palmer (a Tejano) "Randy Texas". Randy California would later co-found the band Spirit with his stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy. It was around this time that Hendrix's only daughter Tamika was conceived with Diana Carpenter (also known as Regina Jackson), a teenage runaway and prostitute that he briefly stayed with. Her claim has not been recognized by the US courts where, after death, she may not have a claim on his estate even if she could legally prove he was her father, unless recognized previously as such by him or the courts.
Hendrix and his new band played at several places in New York, but their primary venue was a residency at the Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. The street runs along "Washington (Square) Park" which appeared in at least two of Hendrix's songs. Their last concerts were at the Cafe au Go Go, as John Hammond Jr.'s backing group, billed as "The Blue Flame". Singer-guitarist Ellen McIlwaine and guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter also claim to have briefly worked with Hendrix in this period.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Early in 1966 at the Cheetah Club on Broadway at 53rd Street, Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, befriended Hendrix and recommended him to Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham and later, producer Seymour Stein. Neither man took a liking to Hendrix's music, and they both passed. She then referred Hendrix to Chas Chandler, who was ending his tenure as bassist in The Animals and looking for talent to manage and produce. Chandler liked the song "Hey Joe" and was convinced he could create a hit single with the right artist.
Impressed with Hendrix's version, Chandler brought him to London and signed him to a management and production contract with himself and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. It was Chandler who came up with the spelling change of "Jimmy" to "Jimi". Chandler then helped Hendrix form a new band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with guitarist-turned-bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, both English musicians. Shortly before the Experience was formed, Chandler introduced Hendrix to Pete Townshend and to Eric Clapton, who had only recently helped put together Cream. At Chandler's request, Cream let Hendrix join them on stage for a jam on the song "Killing Floor". Hendrix and Clapton remained friends up until Hendrix's death. The first night he arrived in London, he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted until February 1969. She later wrote a well received autobiographical book about their relationship and the sixties London scene in general.
Hendrix sometimes had a camp sense of humor, specifically with the song "Purple Haze". A mondegreen had appeared, in which the line "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" was misheard as "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy." In a few performances, Hendrix humorously used this, deliberately singing "kiss this guy" while pointing to Mitch or Noel, as he did at Monterey. In the Woodstock DVD he deliberately points to the sky at this point, to make it clear. A volume of misheard lyrics has been published, using this mondegreen itself as the title, with Hendrix on the cover.
After his enthusiastically received performance at France's No. 1 venue, the Olympia theatre in Paris on the Johnny Hallyday tour, an on-stage jam with Cream, a showcase gig at the newly opened, pop-celebrity oriented nightclub Bag O'Nails and the all important appearances on the top UK TV pop shows "Ready Steady Go!" and the BBC's "Top of the Pops", word of Hendrix spread throughout the London music community in late 1966. His showmanship and virtuosity made instant fans of reigning guitar heroes Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, as well as Brian Jones and members of The Beatles and The Who, whose managers signed Hendrix to their new record label, Track Records.
Hendrix's first single was a cover of "Hey Joe", using Tim Rose's slower arrangement of the song including his addition of a female backing chorus. Backing this first 1966 "Experience" single was Hendrix's first songwriting effort, "Stone Free". Further success came in early 1967 with "Purple Haze" which featured the "Hendrix chord" and "The Wind Cries Mary". The three singles were all UK Top 10 hits and were also popular internationally including Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan (though failed to sell when released later in the US). Onstage, Hendrix was also making an impression with sped up renderings of the B.B. King hit "Rock Me Baby" and Howlin' Wolf's hit "Killing Floor".
Are You Experienced
The first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, was released in the United Kingdom on May 12, 1967 and shortly thereafter internationally, outside of USA and Canada. It contained none of the previously released (outside USA and Canada) singles or their B sides ("Hey Joe/Stone Free", "Purple Haze/51st Anniversary" and "The Wind Cries Mary/Highway Chile"). Only The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band prevented Are You Experienced from reaching No. 1 on the UK charts.
At this time, the Experience extensively toured the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. This allowed Hendrix to develop his stage presence, which reached a high point on March 31, 1967, when, booked to appear as one of the opening acts on the Walker Brothers farewell tour, he set his guitar on fire at the end of his first performance, as a publicity stunt. This guitar has now been identified as the "Zappa guitar" (previously thought to have been from Miami), which has been partly refurbished. Later, as part of this press promotion campaign, there were articles about Rank Theatre management warning him to "tone down" his "suggestive" stage act, with Chandler stating that the group would not compromise regardless. On June 4, 1967, the Experience played their last show in England, at London's Saville Theatre, before heading off to America. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album had just been released on June 1 and two Beatles (Paul McCartney and George Harrison) were in attendance, along with a roll call of other UK rock stardom, including: Brian Epstein, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Jack Bruce, and pop singer Lulu. Hendrix opened the show with his own rendering of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", rehearsed only minutes before taking the stage, much to McCartney's astonishment and delight.
While on tour in Sweden in 1967, Hendrix jammed with the duo Hansson & Karlsson, and later opened several concerts with their song "Tax Free", also recording a cover of it during the Electric Ladyland sessions. He played there frequently throughout his career, and his only son James Daniel Sundquist was born there in 1969 to a Swede, Eva Sundquist, recognized as such by the Swedish courts and paid a settlement by Experience Hendrix LLC. He wrote a poem to a woman there (probably Sundquist). Sundquist had sent Hendrix roses on each of his opening nights in Stockholm, and began – according to the Swedish courts – a sexual relationship from then until conceiving Daniel with him, after his third visit in January 1969. Hendrix also dedicated songs to the Swedish-based Vietnam deserters organization in 1969.
Months later, Reprise Records released the US and Canadian version of Are You Experienced with a new cover by Karl Ferris, removing "Red House", "Remember" and "Can You See Me" to make room for the first three single A-sides. Where the (Rest of the World) album kicked off with "Foxy Lady", the US and Canadian one started with "Purple Haze". Both versions offered a startling introduction to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the album was a blueprint for what had become possible on an electric guitar, basically recorded on four tracks, mixed into mono and only modified at this point by a "fuzz" pedal, reverb and a small bit of the experimental "Octavia" pedal on "Purple Haze", produced by Roger Mayer in consultation with Hendrix. A remix using the mostly mono backing tracks with the guitar and vocal overdubs separated and occasionally panned to create a stereo mix was also released, only in the US and Canada.
Although very popular in Europe at this time, The Jimi Hendrix Experience had yet to crack America. Their first single there, "Hey Joe" c/w "51st Anniversary" (Reprise 0572, released 1 May 1967), failed to reach the Billboard chart.
Their chance came when Paul McCartney recommended the group to the organizers of the Monterey International Pop Festival. This proved to be a great opportunity for Hendrix, not only because of the large audience present at the event, but also because of the many journalists covering the event who wrote about him. The performances were filmed by D. A. Pennebaker and later shown in some movie theaters around the country in early 1969 as the concert documentary Monterey Pop, which immortalized Hendrix's iconic burning and smashing of his guitar at the finale of his performance.
The opening song was Hendrix's very fast arrangement of Howlin' Wolf's 1965 R&B hit "Killing Floor". He played this frequently from late 1965 through 1968, usually as the opener to his shows. The Monterey performance included an equally lively rendering of B.B. King's 1964 R&B hit "Rock Me Baby", Tim Rose's arrangement of "Hey Joe" and Bob Dylan's 1965 Pop hit "Like a Rolling Stone". The set ended with The Troggs "Wild Thing" and Hendrix repeating the act that had boosted his profile in the UK (and internationally) with him burning his guitar on stage, then smashing it to bits and tossing pieces out to the audience. This show finally brought Hendrix to the notice of the US public. A large chunk of this guitar was on display at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, along with the other psychedelically painted Stratocaster that Hendrix smashed (but did not burn) at his farewell concert in England before he left for the US and Monterey.
At the time Hendrix was playing sets in the Scene club in NYC in July 1967, he met Frank Zappa, whose Mothers of Invention were playing the adjacent Garrick Theater, and he was reportedly fascinated by Zappa's recently purchased wah-wah pedal. Hendrix immediately bought one from Manny's and starting using it right away on the sessions for both sides of his new single, and slightly later, on several jams recorded at Ed Chalpin's studio.
Following the festival, the Experience played a series of concerts at Bill Graham's Fillmore replacing the original headliners Jefferson Airplane at the top of the bill. It was at this time that Hendrix became acquainted with future musical collaborator Stephen Stills, and reacquainted himself with Buddy Miles who introduced Hendrix to his future partner, Devon Wilson. She had a turbulent on/off relationship with him, right up to the night of his death, and was the only one of his partners to record with him. She died only six months after Hendrix under mysterious circumstances, apparently falling from an upper window in the Chelsea Hotel.
Following this very successful West Coast introduction, which also included two open air concerts (one of them a free concert in the "panhandle" of Golden Gate Park) and a concert at the Whisky a Go Go, they were booked as one of the opening acts for pop group The Monkees on their first American tour. The Monkees asked for Hendrix because they were fans, but their (mostly early teens) audience sometimes did not warm to their act, and he quit the tour after a few dates. Chas Chandler later admitted that being thrown off the Monkees tour was engineered to gain maximum media impact and publicity for Hendrix, similar to that gained from the manufactured Rank Theatre's indecency dispute on the earlier UK Walker Brothers tour. At the time, a story circulated claiming that Hendrix was removed from the tour because of complaints made by the Daughters of the American Revolution that his stage conduct was "lewd and indecent". This report was concocted by a journalist accompanying the tour, the Australian Lillian Roxon.
Meanwhile in Western Europe, where Hendrix was appreciated for his authentic blues as well as his hit singles and recognized for his avant-garde musical ideas, his wild-man image and musical gimmickry (such as playing the guitar with his teeth and behind his back) had faded; but they later plagued him in the US following Monterey. He became frustrated by the US media and audience when they concentrated on his stage tricks and best known songs.
Axis: Bold as Love
The Jimi Hendrix Experience's second 1967 album, Axis: Bold as Love was his first recording made for stereo release and used panning and other stereo effects. It continued the style established by Are You Experienced. The opening track, "EXP", featured a stereo effect in which a sound emanating from Hendrix's guitar appeared to revolve around the listener, fading out into the distance from the right channel, then returning in on the left. This album marked the first time Hendrix recorded the whole album with his guitar tuned down one half-step, to E?, which he used exclusively thereafter and was his first to feature the wah-wah pedal. A mishap almost delayed the album's pre-Christmas release: Hendrix lost the master tape of side one of the LP, leaving it in the back seat of a London taxi. With the release deadline looming, Hendrix, Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer had to remix most of side one in an overnight session, but they could not match the lost mix of "If 6 was 9". They soon learned that bassist Noel Redding had a tape recording of this mix. The tape had to be smoothed out as it had gotten wrinkled. Hendrix was disappointed that the album had to be finished so quickly and felt it could have been better, given more time. He was also somewhat disappointed in the album cover art work, which depicts Hendrix and his Experience bandmates as the various forms of Vishnu, incorporating a painting of them by Roger Law (from a photo-portrait by Karl Ferris). Hendrix remarked that it would have been more appropriate if the cover had highlighted his American Indian heritage.
The album was released in the UK near the end of their first headlining tour there, after which the pace slowed briefly during the Christmas holidays. In January 1968 the group went to Sweden for a short tour, and after the first show Hendrix, reportedly after drinking and according to Hendrix his drink being spiked, went berserk and smashed up his hotel room in a rage, injuring his hand and culminating in his arrest. Then on the 6th in Denmark his famous hat was stolen. The rest of the tour was uneventful, though Hendrix had to spend some time in Sweden waiting for his trial and eventual large fine.
Hendrix's third recording, the double album Electric Ladyland (1968), was a departure from previous efforts. Following his third and penultimate French concert at the Paris Olympia, Hendrix flew to the US to start his first tour there, and after two months returned to his Electric Ladyland project at the newly opened Record Plant Studios with engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren and initially Chas Chandler as producer.
As the album's recording progressed, Chas Chandler became so frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism and with various friends and guests milling about the studio that he decided to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix. Chandler's departure had a clear impact on the artistic direction that the recording took.
Hendrix began experimenting with different combinations of musicians and instruments, and modern electronic effects. For example, Dave Mason, Chris Wood, and Steve Winwood from the band Traffic, drummer Buddy Miles and former Bob Dylan organist Al Kooper, among others, were involved in the recording sessions. He described how Hendrix went from a disciplined recording regimen to an erratic schedule, which often saw him beginning recording sessions in the middle of the night and with any number of guests.
Chandler also expressed exasperation at the number of times Hendrix would insist on rerecording particular tracks; the song "Gypsy Eyes" was reportedly recorded 43 times. This was also frustrating for bassist Noel Redding, who would often leave the studio to calm himself, only to return and find that Hendrix had recorded the bass parts himself during Redding's absence.
Electric Ladyland includes "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" as well as Hendrix's rendering of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower".
Throughout the four years of his fame, Hendrix often appeared at impromptu jams with various musicians, such as B.B. King. In March 1968, Jim Morrison of The Doors joined Hendrix onstage at New York's Scene Club. Albums of this Electric Ladyland-era bootleg recording were released under various titles, some falsely claiming the presence of Johnny Winter, who has denied, several times, being a participant at that jam session, and to ever having met Morrison.
Breakup of Jimi Hendrix Experience
After a year based in the US, Hendrix temporarily moved back to London and into his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham's rented Brook Street flat, next door to the Handel House Museum, in the West End of London. During this time The Jimi Hendrix Experience toured Scandinavia, Germany, and included a final French concert. They later performed two sold-out concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall on February 18 and February 24, 1969, which were the last European appearances of this line-up of the "Jimi Hendrix Experience". A Gold and Goldstein-produced film titled Experience was also recorded at these two shows, which, according to Experience Hendrix LLC, "Elements of these recordings are sure to be utilized when the official release of this material is finally made."
Noel Redding felt increasingly frustrated by the fact that he was not playing his original and favored instrument, the guitar. In 1968, he decided to form his own band, Fat Mattress, which would sometimes open for the Experience (Hendrix would jokingly refer to them as "Thin Pillow"). Redding and Hendrix would begin seeing less and less of each other, which also had an effect in the studio, with Hendrix playing many of the bass parts on Electric Ladyland.
Fruitless recording sessions at Olympic in London; Olmstead and the Record Plant in New York that ended on April 9, which only produced a remake of Stone Free for a possible single release, were the last to feature Redding. Hendrix then flew Billy Cox to New York and started recording and rehearsing with him on April 21 as a replacement for Noel.
In a recorded interview by Nancy Carter on June 15 at his hotel in Los Angeles, Hendrix announced that he had been recording with Cox and that he would be replacing Noel as bass player in "The Jimi Hendrix Experience".
The last Experience concert took place on June 29, 1969 at Barry Fey's Denver Pop Festival, a three-day event held at Denver's Mile High Stadium that was marked by police firing tear gas into the audience as they played "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)". The band escaped from the venue in the back of a rental truck which was partly crushed by fans trying to escape the tear gas. The next day, Noel Redding announced that he had quit the Experience.
Gypsy Sun and Rainbows
After the departure of Noel Redding from the group, Hendrix rented the eight-bedroom 'Ashokan House' in the hamlet of Boiceville near Woodstock in upstate New York, where he spent some time in mid-1969. Manager Michael Jeffery, who had a house in Woodstock, arranged the stay, with hopes that the respite would produce a new album. To replace Redding as bassist, Hendrix had been rehearsing and recording with Billy Cox, his old and trusted Army buddy, since at least April 21.
Mitchell was unavailable to help fulfill Hendrix's commitments at this time, which include his first appearance on US TV – on the Dick Cavett show – where he was backed by the studio orchestra, and an appearance on The Tonight Show where he appeared with his new bass player Billy Cox, and session drummer Ed Shaughnessy sitting in for Mitchell. Mitchell returned in time for the Woodstock music festival on August 18, 1969, for which—in an effort to expand his sound beyond the power trio format—Hendrix then added rhythm guitarist Larry Lee (another old friend from his R&B days), and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez.
They recorded some jam-based material such as "Jam Back at the House", "Shokan Sunrise" (posthumous title for untitled jam), "Villanova Junction", and early renderings of the funk-driven centerpieces of Hendrix's post-Experience sound: "Machine Gun", "Message to Love" and "Izabella".
Bad weather and logistical problems caused long delays, so that Hendrix did not appear on stage until Monday morning. By this time, the audience (which had peaked at over 500,000 people) had been reduced to, at most, 180,000, many of whom merely waited to catch a glimpse of Hendrix before leaving. Festival MC Chip Monck introduced the band as "The Jimi Hendrix Experience", but Hendrix quickly corrected this to "Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, for short it's nothin’ but ‘A Band Of’ Gypsies" and launched into a two hour set, the longest of his career. As well as the two percussionists, the performance notably featured Larry Lee performing two songs and Lee sometimes soloing while Hendrix played rhythm in places. Most of this has been edited out of the officially released recordings, including Lee's two songs, reducing the sound to basically a three piece. The concert was relatively free of the technical difficulties that frequently plagued Hendrix's performances, although one of his guitar strings snapped while performing "Red House", which he played through. The band, unused to playing large audiences and exhausted after being up all night, could not always keep up with Hendrix's pace, but in spite of this the guitarist managed to deliver a memorable performance, climaxing with his sui generis rendering of "The Star-Spangled Banner", an improvisation since regarded as a defining moment of the 1960s. In 2010, a judge in a court case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit would say, "Jimmy Hendrix memorably (or not, depending on one’s sensibility) offered a 'rendition' of the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock when he performed it aloud in 1969."
This expanded band did not last long. After the Woodstock festival they appeared on only two more occasions. The first was a street benefit in Harlem where, in a scenario similar to the festival, most of the audience had left and only a fraction remained by the time Hendrix took the stage. Within seconds of Hendrix arriving at the site two youths had stolen his guitar from the back seat of his car, although it was later recovered. The band's only other appearance was at the Salvation club in Greenwich Village, New York. After some studio recordings, Hendrix disbanded the group. Some of this band's recordings can be heard on the MCA Records box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience and on South Saturn Delta. Their final work together was a session on September 6. Hendrix's September 9 appearance on TV's The Dick Cavett Show, backed by Cox, Mitchell and Juma Sultan, was credited as the "Jimi Hendrix Experience".
Band of Gypsys
In 1967, a contractual dispute arose in relation to an agreement Hendrix had entered into with producer Ed Chalpin in 1965. The resolution for the dispute included Hendrix having to record an LP of new material for Chalpin company, which would not feature the Experience band, and would not be associated with the Experience band name. In addition, Chalpin was granted 2% of profits from Hendrix's back catalog sold in US. For the agreed upon album, Hendrix chose to record Band of Gypsys, a live album.
Along with Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles (formerly with Wilson Pickett and The Electric Flag) with whom he had been jamming together since September, Hendrix wrote and rehearsed material which they then performed at a series of four concerts over two nights, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at Fillmore East. The second night produced the material for the Band Of Gypsys LP, which was produced by Hendrix (under the name "Heaven Research").
The Band of Gypsys LP was the only official completely live LP released in Hendrix's lifetime. The band also released a single "Stepping Stone" which failed to sell, and recorded several studio songs slated for Hendrix's future LP. In 1999, the tapes from the four Fillmore concerts were remastered and additional tracks and edits were released as Live at the Fillmore East. Litigation with Chalpin ended in 2007 after the "singularly uncredible witness" was fined nearly $900,000 for failure to abide by contractual limitations and failure to pay Experience Hendrix L.L.C. its court ordered royalties.
On January 26 and 27, 1970, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding flew into New York and signed contracts with Jeffery for the upcoming Jimi Hendrix Experience tour. The next day, a second and final Band of Gypsys appearance occurred at a twelve-act show in Madison Square Garden which was a benefit for the massively popular anti-Vietnam War Moratorium Committee, titled the "Winter Festival for Peace". Similar to Woodstock, set delays forced Hendrix to take the stage at an inopportune 3 a.m., only this time he was obviously in no shape to play. He played "Who Knows" before snapping a vulgar response at a woman who shouted a request for "Foxy Lady". He played a second song, "Earth Blues", he then told the audience: "That's what happens when earth fucks with space—never forget that". He then sat down on the drum riser for a minute and then walked off stage. Various unverifiable assertions have been proffered to explain this bizarre scene. Buddy Miles claimed that manager Michael Jeffery dosed Hendrix with LSD in an effort to sabotage the current band and bring about the return of the Experience lineup. But none of Hendrix's other close associates verifies his statement.
Cry of Love tour
A week after the botched Band of Gypsys show, Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding gave an interview to Rolling Stone for the upcoming tour dates as a reunited Jimi Hendrix Experience. But Redding never even got to rehearse, as Hendrix just continued to work with Billy Cox. Noel was not told he was not going to be playing until the pretour rehearsals. Fans refer to this final "Jimi Hendrix Experience" lineup as the "Cry of Love" band, named after The Cry of Love Tour to distinguish it from the original. Billy Cox has countered on several occasions that this lineup considered themselves "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" before they even went on tour and that any other title is bogus. All billing, adverts, tickets etc. on the tour used "Jimi Hendrix Experience" or occasionally, as previously, just "Jimi Hendrix".
Two of Hendrix's later recordings were the lead guitar parts on "Old Times Good Times" from Stephen Stills hit eponymous album (1970), and on "The Everlasting First" from Arthur Lee's new incarnation of Love's, not so successful and aptly named LP False Start both tracks were recorded with these old friends on a fleeting and unexplained visit to London in March 1970, following Kathy Etchingham's marriage.
He spent the next four months of 1970 working on his next LP tentatively titled First Rays of the New Rising Sun, recording during the week and playing live on the weekends. The "Cry of Love" tour, launched that April at the L.A. Forum, was partly undertaken to earn money to repay the Warner Bros loan for completing his Electric Lady Studios. Performances on this tour featured Hendrix, Cox, and Mitchell playing new material alongside older audience favourites. The USA leg of the tour included 30 performances and ended at Honolulu, Hawaii on August 1, 1970. A number of these shows were recorded and produced some of Hendrix's most memorable live performances.
Electric Lady Studios
In 1968, Hendrix and Jeffery had invested jointly in the purchase of the Generation Club in Greenwich Village. Their initial plans to reopen the club were scrapped when the pair decided that the investment would serve them much better as a recording studio. The studio fees for the lengthy Electric Ladyland sessions were astronomical, and Hendrix was constantly in search of a recording environment that suited him. In August 1970, Electric Lady Studios was opened in New York.
Designed by architect and acoustician John Storyk, the studio was made specifically for Hendrix, with round windows and a machine capable of generating ambient lighting in a myriad of colors. It was designed to have a relaxing feel to encourage Hendrix's creativity, but at the same time provide a professional recording atmosphere. Engineer Eddie Kramer upheld this by refusing to allow any drug use during session work.
Hendrix spent only two and a half months recording in Electric Lady, most of which took place while the final phases of construction were still ongoing. Following a recording/dubbing session on August 26, an opening party was held later that day. He then boarded an Air India flight for London with Billy Cox, joining Mitch Mitchell to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The group then commenced the European leg of the tour. Longing for his new studio and creative outlets, the tour was a commitment that Hendrix was not eager to perform. In Aarhus, Hendrix abandoned his show after only two songs, remarking: "I've been dead a long time". In the months before Hendrix's death, a British music paper alleged that Hendrix had plans to join the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. On September 6, 1970, his final concert performance, Hendrix was greeted with some booing and jeering by fans at the Isle of Fehmarn Festival in Germany, due to his non-appearance at the end of the previous nights bill, (due to the torrential rain and risk of electrocution). Several acts played after he left the stage, later part of the stage was burnt during the first stage appearance of Ton Steine Scherben. Billy Cox quit the tour and headed home to Memphis, Tennessee, reportedly suffering paranoia after taking LSD or being given it unknowingly, earlier in the tour.
Hendrix returned to London, where he reportedly spoke to Chas Chandler, Eric Burdon, and others about leaving his manager, Michael Jeffery. Hendrix's last public performance was an informal jam at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho with Burdon and his latest band, War. Much of this was recorded on a Sony cassette recorder by Bill Baker, of Shepherds Bush, London, then aged 20, who was present throughout the entire performance. Two Hendrix tracks from this recording , "Mother Earth" and "Tobacco Road", were later included, without permission from Baker, on a bootleg LP, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?, produced in the mid to late 1970s, and on an audio tape of poor quality that went into circulation some years later. It was not until 2009, however, that the entire recording entered general circulation within the collecting community. This was remastered in California in December 2010 and includes tracks from the same night's performance by Eric Burdon's War. This is the last known recording of Jimi Hendrix, who died approximately 24 hours later.
Early on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died in London. He had spent the latter part of the previous evening at a party and was picked up at close to 03:00 by girlfriend Monika Dannemann and driven to her flat at the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill. From autopsy data and statements by friends about the evening of September 17, it has been estimated that he died sometime after 03:00, possibly before 04:00, but also possibly later, though no estimate was made at the autopsy, or inquest.
Dannemann claimed in her original testimony that after they returned to her lodgings the evening before, Hendrix, unknown to her, had taken nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping pills. The normal medical dose was a half to one tablet as stated in the literature, but Hendrix was unfamiliar with this very strong Belgian brand. According to surgeon John Bannister, the doctor who initially attended to him, Hendrix had asphyxiated in his own vomit, mainly red wine which had filled his airways. This statement, though, was written in January 1992, while Bannister was being investigated for malpractice and fraud (unconnected to Hendrix), to Shapiro a co-author who had published Electric Gypsy, a book in which Bannister had been accused of malpractice by Monika Dannemann in not performing a tracheotomy. He appears to have been using the amount of wine in his system as a reason for not performing a tracheotomy. He was reprimanded for two counts of medical mal-practice, and struck off the medical register on 28 April 1992 for fraud. No one else at the time, the other two doctors, the ambulance men, or the police mentioned wine. The only mention of wine was by Monika much earlier, in Electric Gypsy (which Bannister had read), and that Hendrix had drunk some with food earlier that evening and also by Harvey at his, again, much earlier party, which were both several hours prior to death. The autopsy found very little alcohol in his system. The autopsy never mentioned wine only vomitted matter.
Until her death, Dannemann publicly claimed that she had only discovered that her lover had been sick at 11.00 a.m., but he was breathing, though unconscious and unresponsive (The ambulance was called at 11:18 and arrived 11.27). And that Hendrix was alive when placed in the back of the ambulance at approximately 11:30, and that she rode with him on the way to the hospital;.
The ambulance crew later denied she was even there. However, Dannemann's comments about the timing of some events that morning often differed in places, varying from interview to interview.
Police and ambulance statements reveal that there was no one but Hendrix in the flat when they arrived at 11:27 a.m., and not only was he dead when they arrived on the scene, but was fully clothed and had been dead for some time.
Later, Dannemen claimed that former road managers Gerry Stickels and Eric Barrett had been present before the ambulance was called and had removed some of Hendrix's possessions, including some of his most recent messages. Lyrics written by Hendrix, which were found in the apartment, led Eric Burdon to make a premature announcement on the BBC-TV program 24 Hours that he believed Hendrix had committed suicide. Burdon often claimed he had been telephoned by Dannemann after she discovered that Jimi failed to wake up.
Following a libel case brought in 1996 by Hendrix's long-term English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, Monika Dannemann committed suicide.
Allegations of murder
A former Animals "roadie," James "Tappy" Wright, published a book in May 2009 claiming Hendrix's manager, Mike Jeffery, admitted to him that he had Hendrix killed because the rock star wanted to end his management contract. John Bannister, one of the doctors who attended to him in 1970 stated in 2009 that it "sounded plausible." Bannister was struck off the Medical register in 1992 for fraud. In 2011 Bob Levine, Wright's long term business associate and Mike Jeffery's assistant manager in N.Y., said he knows that Wright made up these stories to sell his book, that Jeffery didn't have insurance on Hendrix, but that he merely countersigned the Warner Bros. policy that Warner's had taken out as standard practice.
Hendrix was well known for his unique sense of fashion and wardrobe and his Dylan-esque (c. 1966) hairstyle. A set of hair curlers was one of the few possessions that traveled with him to England when he was first discovered in 1966. When his first advance check arrived, Hendrix immediately took to the streets of London in search of clothing at famous boutiques like I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and Granny Takes a Trip, both of which specialized in vintage fashion. He purchased at least two army dress uniform jackets, including a, posslbly antique, jacket styled in imitation of a Hussar's pelisse, adorned with tasseled ropes. A group of policemen once ordered him to remove the other, a Royal Veterinary Corps dress jacket, saying it was an offense to the men who had worn it.
Many photographs of Hendrix show him wearing various scarves, rings, medallions, and brooches, and in the early days occasionally badges (pins or buttons) that professed his support for the hippie movement or his fascination with Bob Dylan. He initially wore a dark suit and plain silk shirts that progressively became "louder" and more psychedelically patterned. He later favored a bright blue velvet suit, then a bright red one, antique military dress jackets, a very broadly striped suit, psychedelically patterned silk jackets, various exotic waistcoats and brightly colored flared trousers. At Monterey, he wore a hand-painted silk jacket by Chris Jagger (Mick Jagger's brother) and a bright pink feather boa. In late 1967 he started to wear a wide-brimmed Western style hat (brand name "The Westerner"). It was adorned with a narrow purple band and various brooches, as shown in the original Jimi Plays Monterey film. This hat was stolen in 1968, and replaced later with another, crowned variously with a longer purple scarf, a star-like brooch in front and a set of silver bangles, sometimes with an angled feather, though he went hatless for protracted periods after this.
From late 1968 he began tying scarves to one leg and one arm, and in mid-1969 he gave up the hat for bandanas. He started wearing increasingly fantastic custom-made stage costume with long trailing sleeves, culminating in his African-styled "Fire Angel" outfit that he wore throughout most of his final "Cry Of Love" tour, until it began to come apart during the Isle of Wight concert. He appeared in this outfit only once more (in just the jacket) at the disastrous concert in Aarhus, Denmark. His only non-work-related vacation was a two-week trip to Morocco in July 1969 with friends Colette Mimram, Stella Benabou (the then-wife of producer Alan Douglas), and Deering Howe. Upon his return Hendrix decorated his Greenwich Village apartment with Moroccan objets d'art and fabrics. Mimram and Benabou created some of Hendrix's most memorable later attire, the shortened blue kimono-style jacket that he wore in three TV appearances and the white fringed jacket, ornamented with blue glass beads, he wore at the Woodstock Festival.
DRUG USE AND WOMEN
Hendrix is widely known for and associated with the use of psychedelic drugs, most notably lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), as were many other famous musicians and celebrities of that time. He supposedly had never taken psychedelic drugs until the night he met Linda Keith, but smoked cannabis and drank alcohol previously. Amphetamines are also recorded as being used by Hendrix during tours. Hendrix was notorious among friends and bandmates for sometimes becoming angry and violent when he drank too much alcohol. Kathy Etchingham spoke of an incident that took place in a London pub in which an intoxicated Hendrix beat her with a public telephone handset because he thought she was calling another man on the pay phone. Carmen Borrero, another girlfriend, says she required stitches after he hit her with a bottle after drinking and becoming jealous. Alcohol was also cited as the cause of Hendrix's 1968 rampage that badly damaged a Stockholm hotel room and led to his arrest. Paul Caruso's friendship with Hendrix ended in 1970 when Hendrix, while under the influence, punched him and accused him of stealing from him.
On May 3, 1969, while checking through Canadian customs at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Hendrix was arrested when small amounts of heroin and hashish were found in his luggage. After being released on a $10,000 cash bail the same day, only four hours before his show was to begin, (and being required to appear in court at a later date), the Experience were able to play their concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.
In his trial defense, Hendrix claimed that the drugs were slipped into his bag by a fan without his knowledge. He was acquitted.
He was by all accounts promiscuous, having casual sex with many women.
Hendrix's body was returned to Seattle and he was interred in Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington. As the popularity of Hendrix and his music grew over the decades following his death, concerns began to mount over fans damaging the adjoining graves at Greenwood, and the growing, extended Hendrix family further prompted his father to create an expanded memorial site separate from other burial sites in the park. The memorial was announced in late 1999, but Al Hendrix's deteriorating health led to delays and he died two months before its scheduled completion in 2002. Later that year, the remains of Jimi Hendrix, his father Al Hendrix, and grandmother Nora Rose Moore Hendrix were moved to the new site. The headstone contains a depiction of a Fender Stratocaster guitar, the instrument he was most famed for using —– although the guitar is shown right-side up, rather than the way Hendrix played it, upside down (left-handed).
The memorial is a granite dome supported by three pillars under which Jimi Hendrix and other family members are interred. Hendrix's autograph is inscribed at the base of each pillar, while two stepped entrances and one ramped entrance provide access to the dome's center where the original Stratocaster adorned headstone has been incorporated into a statue pedestal. A granite sundial complete with brass gnomon adjoins the dome, along with over 50 family plots that surround the central structure, half of which are currently adorned with raised granite headstones.
To date, the memorial remains incomplete: brass accents for the dome and a large brass statue of Hendrix were announced as being under construction in Italy, but since 2002, no information as to the status of the project has been revealed to the public. A memorial statue of Jimi playing a Stratocaster stands near the corner of Broadway and Pine Streets in Seattle.
In May 2006, the city of Seattle honored Hendrix with the re-naming of a park near Seattle's Colman School in the Central District.
Hendrix's recordings were originally released in North America on Reprise Records (a division of Warner Communications) from 1967 until 1993 and were released Internationally (outside of US & Canada) on Polydor Records. (Because it was recorded to settle a legal dispute, the Band of Gypsys album was released on Capitol Records in US & Canada.) British releases of all his albums up to and including The Cry Of Love were first issued on the independent label Track Records, which was originally created by the managers of The Who. The label was later absorbed by Polydor.
In 1994, the Hendrix family prevailed in its long standing legal attempt to gain control of Jimi's music, and subsequently licensed the recordings to MCA Records (later Universal Music) through the family-run company Experience Hendrix. In August 2009, Experience Hendrix announced that it had entered a new licensing agreement with Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings division which would take effect in 2010.
UNFINISHED WORK AND POSTHUMOUS RELEASES
Reports that Hendrix's tapes for a concept album Black Gold had been stolen and lost from the London flat, are incorrect. Hendrix gave those tapes to Mitch Mitchell at the Isle of Wight Festival three weeks prior to his death. They are now in the possession of Experience Hendrix LLC.
Hendrix's unfinished album was partly released as the 1971 title The Cry of Love. The album was well received and charted in several countries. However, the album's producers, Mitchell and Kramer, would later complain that they were unable to make use of all the tracks they wanted. This was due to some tracks being used for 1971's Rainbow Bridge and 1972's War Heroes for contractual reasons.
Material from The Cry of Love was rereleased in 1997 as First Rays of the New Rising Sun, along with the rest of the tracks that Mitchell and Kramer wanted to include.
Many of Hendrix's personal items, tapes, and many pages of lyrics and poems are now in the hands of private collectors and have attracted considerable sums at the occasional auctions. These materials surfaced after two employees, under the instructions of Mike Jeffery, removed items from Hendrix's Greenwich Village apartment following his death.
In 2010, Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix LLC launched the 2010 Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project, starting with the release of Valleys of Neptune in March. Legacy has also released deluxe CD/DVD editions of the Hendrix albums Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland and First Rays of the New Rising Sun, as well as the 1968 compilation album Smash Hits.
Hendrix synthesized many styles in creating his musical voice and his guitar style was unique, later to be abundantly imitated by others. Despite his hectic touring schedule and notorious perfectionism, he was a prolific recording artist and left behind more than 300 unreleased recordings.
His career and death grouped him with Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones as one of the 27 Club, a group including iconic 1960s rock stars who suffered drug-related deaths at the age of 27 within a two year period, leaving legacies in death that have eclipsed the popularity and influence they experienced during their lifetimes. Kurt Cobain was later added to this list, also dying at the age of 27.
Despite his popularity and the lavish praise heaped upon his guitar skills, he was surprisingly humble.
Musically, Hendrix did much to further the development of the electric guitar's repertoire, establishing it as a unique sonic source, rather than merely an amplified version of the acoustic guitar. Likewise, his feedback, wah-wah and fuzz-laden soloing moved guitar distortion well beyond mere novelty, incorporating other effects pedals and units specifically designed for him by his sound technician Roger Mayer (such as the Octavia and Univibe) with dramatic results.
Hendrix affected popular music with similar profundity; along with earlier bands such as The Who and Cream, he established a sonically heavy yet technically proficient bent to rock music as a whole, significantly furthering the development of hard rock and paving the way for heavy metal. He took blues to another level. His music has also had a great influence on funk and the development of funk rock especially through the guitarists Ernie Isley of The Isley Brothers and Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic, Prince, John Frusciante former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jesse Johnson of The Time. His influence even extends to many hip hop artists, including Questlove, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Ice-T (who covered "Hey Joe" with his heavy metal band Body Count), El-P and Wyclef Jean. Miles Davis was also deeply impressed by Hendrix and compared his improvisational skills with those of saxophonist John Coltrane, and Davis would later want guitarists in his bands to emulate Hendrix. Hendrix was ranked number 3 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock behind Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
Hendrix's guitar style also had significant influence upon future ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and fellow Texas guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Hendrix was ranked number 3 on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Rock N' Roll, behind the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. He has been voted by Rolling Stone, Guitar World, and a number of other magazines and polls as the best electric guitarist of all time. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him number 6 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
Guitar World's readers voted six of Hendrix's solos among the top "100 Greatest" of all time: "Purple Haze" (70), "The Star-Spangled Banner" (52), "Machine Gun" (32), "Little Wing" (18), "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (11) and "All Along the Watchtower (5).
In 1992, Hendrix was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
When Al Hendrix died of congestive heart failure in 2002, his will stipulated that Experience Hendrix, LLC was to exist as a trust designed to distribute profits to a list of Hendrix family beneficiaries. Upon his death, it was revealed that Al had signed a revision to his will which removed Hendrix's brother Leon Hendrix as a beneficiary. A 2004 probate lawsuit merged Leon's challenge to the will with charges from other Hendrix family beneficiaries that Janie Hendrix, Al's adopted daughter, was improperly handling the company finances. The suit argued that Janie and a cousin of Jimi Hendrix (Robert Hendrix) paid themselves exorbitant salaries and covered their own mortgages and personal expenses from the company's coffers while the beneficiaries went without payment and the Hendrix gravesite in Renton went uncompleted.
Janie and Robert's defense was that the company was not profitable yet, and that their salary and benefits were justified given the work that they put into running the company. Leon charged that Janie bilked Al Hendrix, then old and frail, into signing the revised will, and sought to have the previous will reinstated. The defense argued that Al willingly removed Leon from his will because of Leon's problems with alcohol and gambling. In early 2005, presiding judge Jeffrey Ramsdell handed down a ruling that left the final will intact, but replaced Janie and Robert's role at the financial helm of Experience Hendrix with an independent trustee.
The Jimi Hendrix Foundation
In 1987, Leon Hendrix commissioned the James (Jimi) Marshall Hendrix Foundation. This foundation is based in Renton, Washington. Though run for some time by Jimi's brother Leon Hendrix, in August, 2006 Leon asked a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix – James (Jimmy) Williams, to take control of the Foundation.
Hendrix owned and used a variety of guitars during his career. However, his guitar of choice (and the instrument that became most associated with him), was the Fender Stratocaster. He started playing the model in 1966 and thereafter used it prevalently in his stage performances and recordings.
Hendrix bought many Stratocasters and gave some away as gifts. The original sunburst Stratocaster that Hendrix burnt at the Astoria in 1967, and that he kept as a souvenir, was given to Frank Zappa by a Hendrix roadie at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival; Zappa assumed it was the one Hendrix had played there.
Hendrix used right-handed guitars, turned upside down and restrung for left-hand playing. This had an important effect on his guitar sound: because of the slant of the Strat's bridge pickup, his lowest string had a bright sound while his highest string had a mellow sound, the opposite of the Stratocaster's intended design. Heavy use of the tremolo bar necessitated frequent tuning; Hendrix often asked the audience for a "minute to tune up", as heard on many live bootlegs of his performances.
In addition to Stratocasters, Hendrix was also photographed playing Fender Jazzmasters, Duosonics, two different Gibson Flying Vs, a Gibson Les Paul, three Gibson SGs, a Gretsch Corvette he used at the 1967 Curtis Knight sessions and miming with a right-strung Fender Jaguar on the "Top Of The Pop's" TV show, as well as several other brands. Hendrix borrowed a Fender Telecaster from Noel Redding to record "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze", used a white Gibson SG Custom for his performances on the Dick Cavett show in the summer of 1969, and the Isle of Wight film shows him playing his second Gibson Flying V. While Jimi had previously owned a Flying V that he'd painted with a psychedelic design, the Flying V used at the Isle of Wight was a unique custom left-handed guitar with gold plated hardware, a bound fingerboard and "split-diamond" fret markers that were not found on other 60s-era Flying Vs.
On December 4, 2006, one of Hendrix's 1968 Fender Stratocaster guitars with a sunburst design was sold at a Christie's auction for USD$168,000.
Amplifiers and effects
Hendrix was a catalyst in the development of modern guitar effects pedals. His high volume and use of feedback required robust and powerful amplifiers. For the first few rehearsals he used Vox and Fender amplifiers. Sitting in with Cream, Hendrix played through a new range of high-powered guitar amps being made by London drummer turned audio engineer Jim Marshall, and they proved perfect for his needs. Along with the Stratocaster, the Marshall stack and amplifiers were crucial in shaping his heavily overdriven sound, enabling him to master the use of feedback as a musical effect, and he created a "definitive vocabulary for rock guitar."
While his mainstays were the Arbiter Fuzz Face and a Vox wah-wah pedal, Hendrix experimented with guitar effects as well. He had a fruitful association with engineer Roger Mayer who later went on to make the Axis fuzz unit, the Octavia octave doubler and several other devices based on units Mayer had created or tweaked for Hendrix. The Japanese-made Univibe, designed to simulate the modulation effects of the rotating Leslie speaker, provided a rich phasing sound with a speed control pedal, and is heard on the Band of Gypsys track "Machine Gun," which highlights use of the univibe, octavia and fuzz face pedals.
The Hendrix sound combined high volume and high power, feedback manipulation, and a range of cutting-edge guitar effects. He was also known for his trick playing, which included playing with only his right (fretting) hand and using his teeth or playing behind his back and between his legs. Hendrix had large hands and characteristically used his thumb to fret bass notes, leaving his fingers free to play melodic lines on top. A clear demonstration of this thumb technique can be witnessed in the Woodstock video; during the song Red House there are closeups of Hendrix's fretting hand.