Complete Biography Of Jimi Hendrix

The complete biography of Jimi Hendrix, from his birth in Seattle to his death in London.

If Jimi Hendrix could not be called the greatest musician in history, it would be hard to find another person who could be. Hendrix's music is timeless and spans various genres, from rock to soul, blues to pop, jazz to rap. Jimi Hendrix has influenced modern music in countless aspects with his unreplicable talent and style.

Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix at Seattle's King County Hospital on November 27, 1942 at 10:15 a.m. Jimi's father, James A. Hendrix or Al, renamed him James Marshall shortly after his mother abandoned him. As a young child, Jimmy (as he was called by his family) loved to listen to his father's R&B and blues records and he soon became very interested in music.

When Al saw his son's love for music, he bought Jimmy a small guitar when he was five. Jimmy took to it almost immediately, but he could not read or write music which forced him to learn songs by hearing. Soon Jimmy was playing the songs he heard on the radio and on his father's records. Jimmy's natural talent for the guitar was obvious and he made no waste of it.

As a teenager, Jimmy played with local bands in Seattle. He joined the army in 1961 and was stationed in Ft. Knox, Kentucky, but left early in 1962. Jimmy started his career as a guitarist after leaving the army, playing guitar for Little Richard, Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers. He soon moved to New York City in Greenwich Village, where he was exposed to new sounds and people.

In 1966, Jimmy formed a band, in which he played guitar and sang, in the Village. His band was popular and played regularly in Greenwich Village, which led to his meeting with Chas Chandler, the former bass player for the Animals. Chandler saw Hendrix play and was very impressed and at the end of the show he invited Jimmy to come to London.

Jimmy moved to London in late September of 1966 and his success came quickly. As his manager, Chas changed Jimmy's name to "Jimi", which he thought was more original and catchy. On October 6, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed with, of course, Jimi, Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The trio recorded "Hey Joe" and it was released at the end of the year.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience became a sensation in England and their next releases "Wind Cries Mary" and "Purple Haze" were hits. In May of 1967, "Are You Experienced?" was released and stayed at number two on the charts for the rest of the year.

The band decided it was time to move their sucess to the United States also, and they played at the Monterey Pop Festival. It was during this concert that Jimi infamously torched his guitar at the end of the show before busting it

into pieces. Needless to say, they were a hit.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience's fame kept rising and in December of 1967, they released their third album, Axis: Bold as Love.

A few months later, Mitchell and Redding both quit the band, but this did little to stop Jimi. He quickly found a six-piece band with Mitchell and formed the Band of Gypsys. They went on to play at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in New York. Once again Jimi performed a stunt for the crowd, this time playing a mangled version of "The Star Spangled Banner."

In August of 1970, Jimi halted production of two albums, one a jazz collaboration with Gil Evans and "The First Ray of the New Rising Sun", to tour in Europe. A week into the tour the bassist, Billy Cox, fell ill and the band returned to London to allow Cox to recover.

Jimi stayed with his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, in London when he returned. On the night of August 17, Jimi took some sleeping pills, hoping to sleep through the next day. Jimi had also been drinking and during the night he vomited, but did not wake up due to the pills he had taken. Unfortunately, Jimi suffocated in his sleep and Dannemann found him the next day. She called an ambulance, but it was too late; Jimi was dead at the age of 27. The world since had been missing a great musician and we are left only to speculate what music could have been.

Since Jimi's death, his father has taken over the Hendrix estate, selling the rights to Jimi's music and setting up foundations in Jimi's name.

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