"Jimi" Hendrix

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James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 –

September 18, 1970) was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although

his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is 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. The Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of

rock music".


Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. In

1961, he enlisted in the US Army; he was granted an honorable discharge the

following year. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began

playing gigs on the chitlin' circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers' backing

band and later with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-

1965. He then played with Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England

in late 1966 after being discovered by Linda Keith, who in turn interested bassist

Chas Chandler of the Animals in becoming his first manager. Within months,

Hendrix had earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey

Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary". He achieved fame in the US after

his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and in 1968 his third and

final studio album,Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the US; it was

Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his first and only number one

album. The world's highest-paid performer, he headlined the Woodstock Festival

in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 before his accidental death from

barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.


Hendrix was inspired musically by American rock and roll and electric blues. He favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain, and was

instrumental in utilizing the previously undesirable sounds caused by guitar amplifier feedback. He helped to popularize the use of a wah-wah pedal

in mainstream rock, and was the first artist to usestereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone

commented: "Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source.


Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary

every bit as personal as the blues with which he began.


Hendrix was the recipient of several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop

Musician of the Year, and in 1968,Billboard named him the Artist of the Year and Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and

Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix

Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Famein 2005. Rolling Stone ranked the band's three

studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time, and they ranked Hendrix

as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.


Ancestry and childhood




Hendrix's paternal grandparents, Ross and Nora Hendrix, pre-1912


Jimi Hendrix was primarily of African American descent, with Irish and Cherokee ancestors. His paternal great-great-grandmother was a full-

blooded Cherokee from Georgia who married an Irishman named Moore. They had a son Robert, who married an African-American woman named

Fanny. In 1883, Robert and Fanny had a daughter whom they named Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, Hendrix's paternal grandmother. Hendrix's paternal

grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix (born 1866), was the result of an extramarital affair between a black woman, also named Fanny, and a

grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio or Illinois, and one of the wealthiest white men in the area at that time. On June 10, 1919, Hendrix and Moore

had a son they named James Allen Ross Hendrix; people called him Al.[


In 1941, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance in Seattle; they married on March 31, 1942. Al, who had been drafted by the United States

Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding.[11] Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27,

1942, in Seattle, Washington; he was the first of Lucille's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in

honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.


Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his

commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up

without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth. During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise

their son, often neglecting him in favor of nightlife.[16] When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends,

especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding Al received an honorable discharge from the US Army on September 1, 1945.

Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to theBerkeley, California home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and

had attempted to adopt Hendrix. There Al saw his son for the first time.


After returning from service, Al reunited with Lucille, but his inability to find steady work left the family impoverished. They both struggled with

alcohol abuse, and often fought when intoxicated. The violence sometimes drove Hendrix to withdraw and hide in a closet in their home.[19] His

relationship with his brother Leon (born 1948) was close but precarious; with Leon in and out of foster care, they lived with an almost constant

threat of fraternal separation.[20] In addition to Leon, Hendrix had three younger siblings: Joseph, born in 1949, Kathy in 1950, and Pamela, 1951,

all of whom Al and Lucille gave up to foster care and adoption.[21] The family frequently moved, staying in cheap hotels and apartments around

Seattle. On occasion, family members would take Hendrix to Vancouver to stay at his grandmother's. A shy and sensitive boy, he was deeply

affected by his life experiences.[22] In later years, he confided to a girlfriend that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a man in uniform.[23]

On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced; the court granted Al custody of him and Leon.


First instruments


At Horace Mann Elementary School in Seattle during the mid-1950s, Hendrix's habit of carrying a broom with him to emulate a guitar gained the

attention of the school's social worker. After more than a year of his clinging to a broom like a security blanket, she wrote a letter requesting

school funding intended for underprivileged children, insisting that leaving him without a guitar might result in psychological damage.[25] Her

efforts failed, and Al refused to buy him a guitar


In 1957, while helping his father with a side-job, Hendrix found a ukulele amongst the garbage that they were removing from an older woman's

home. She told him that he could keep the instrument, which had only one string.[27]Learning by ear, he played single notes, following along to

Elvis Presley songs, particularly Presley's cover of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" By the age of thirty-three, Hendrix's mother Lucille had

developed cirrhosisof the liver, and on February 2, 1958, she died when her spleen ruptured. Al refused to take James and Leon to attend their

mother's funeral; he instead gave them shots of whiskey and instructed them that was how men were supposed to deal with loss. In mid-1958, at

age 15, Hendrix acquired his first acoustic guitar, for $5.[31] Hendrix earnestly applied himself, playing the instrument for several hours daily,

watching others and getting tips from more experienced guitarists, and listening to blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and

Robert Johnson. The first tune Hendrix learned how to play was the theme from Peter Gunn.


Soon after he acquired the acoustic guitar, Hendrix formed his first band, the Velvetones. Without an electric guitar, he could barely be heard over

the sound of the group. After about three months, he realized that he needed an electric guitar in order to continue. In mid-1959, his father

relented and bought him a white Supro Ozark.[34] Hendrix's first gig was with an unnamed band in the basement of a synagogue, Seattle's Temple

De Hirsch, but after too much showing off, the band fired him between sets. He later joined the Rocking Kings, which played professionally at

venues such as the Birdland club. When someone stole his guitar after he left it backstage overnight, Al bought him a red Silvertone Danelectro. In

1958, Hendrix completed his studies at Washington Junior High School, though he did not graduate from Garfield High School.


Military service




Hendrix in the US Army, 1961


Before Hendrix was 19 years old, law enforcement authorities had twice caught him riding in stolen cars. When given a choice between spending

time in prison or joining the Army, he chose the latter and enlisted on May 31, 1961 After completing eight weeks of basic training at Fort Ord,

California, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed at Fort Campbell,Kentucky.[41] He arrived there on November 8, and soon

afterward he wrote to his father: "There's nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school ...

you get hell. They work you to death, fussing and fightingIn his next letter home, Hendrix, who had left his guitar at his girlfriend Betty Jean

Morgan's house in Seattle, asked his father to send it to him as soon as possible, stating: "I really need it now."[42] His father obliged and sent the

red Silvertone Danelectro on which Hendrix had hand-painted the words "Betty Jean", to Fort Campbell His apparent obsession with the instrument

contributed to his neglect of his duties, which led to verbal taunting and physical abuse from his peers, who at least once hid the guitar from him

until he had begged for its return.


In November 1961, fellow serviceman Billy Cox walked past an army club and heard Hendrix playing guitar.[45] Intrigued by the proficient playing,

which he described as a combination of "John Lee Hooker and Beethoven", Cox borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed. Within a few weeks,

they began performing at base clubs on the weekends with other musicians in a loosely organized band called the Casuals.


Hendrix completed his paratrooper training in just over eight months, and Major General C.W.G. Rich awarded him the prestigious Screaming

Eagles patch on January 11, 1962. By February, his personal conduct had begun to draw criticism from his superiors. They labeled him an

unqualified marksman and often caught him napping while on duty and failing to report for bed checks.]On May 24, Hendrix's platoon sergeant,

James C. Spears filed a report in which he stated: "He has no interest whatsoever in the Army ... It is my opinion that Private Hendrix will never

come up to the standards required of a soldier. I feel that the military service will benefit if he is discharged as soon as possible. On June 29, 1962,

Captain Gilbert Batchman granted Hendrix an honorable discharge on the basis of unsuitabilityHendrix later spoke of his dislike of the army and

falsely stated that he had received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump.


Music career


Early years


In September 1963, after Cox was discharged from the Army, he and Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and formed a band called the King

Kasuals.[53] Hendrix had watched Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and by now Alphonso 'Baby Boo' Young, the other guitarist in the

band, was performing this guitar gimmick.[54] Not to be upstaged, Hendrix learned to play with his teeth, he commented: "The idea of doing that

came to me ... 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."

[55] Although they began playing low-paying gigs at obscure venues, the band eventually moved toNashville's Jefferson Street, which was the

traditional heart of the city's black community and home to a thriving rhythm and blues music scene.[56] They earned a brief residency playing at a

popular venue in town, the Club del Morocco, and for the next two years Hendrix made a living performing at a circuit of venues throughout the

South who were affiliated with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA), widely known as the Chitlin' Circuit.[57]In addition to playing in his

own band, Hendrix performed as a backing musician for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke,

and Jackie Wilson.


In January 1964, feeling he had outgrown the circuit artistically and frustrated by having to follow the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to

venture out on his own. He moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he befriended Lithofayne Pridgeon, known as "Faye", who became his

girlfriend.[59] A Harlem native with connections throughout the area's music scene, Pridgeon provided him with shelter, support, and

encouragement. Hendrix also met the Allen twins, Arthur and Albert. In February 1964, Hendrix won first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur

contest.[63] Hoping to secure a career opportunity, he played the Harlem club circuit and sat in with various bands. At the recommendation of a

former associate of Joe Tex, Ronnie Isley granted Hendrix an audition that led to an offer to become the guitarist with the Isley Brothers' back-up

band, the I.B. Specials, which he readily accepted.


First recordings


In March 1964, Hendrix recorded the two-part single "Testify" with the Isley Brothers. Released in June, it failed to chart.[65] In May, he provided

guitar instrumentation for the Don Covay song, "Mercy Mercy". Issued in August by Rosemart Records and distributed by Atlantic, the track reached

number 35 on the Billboard chart.


Hendrix toured with the Isleys during much of 1964, but near the end of October, after growing tired of playing the same set every night, he left

the band. Soon afterward, Hendrix joined Little Richard's touring band, the Upsetters. During a stop in Los Angeles in February 1965, he recorded

his first and only single with Richard, "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)", written by Don Covay and released by Vee-Jay Records.

Richard's popularity was waning at the time, and the single peaked at number 92, where it remained for one week before dropping off the chart.

Hendrix met singer Rosa Lee Brooks while staying at the Wilcox Hotel in Hollywood, and she invited him to participate in a recording session for

her single, which included "My Diary" as the A-side, and "Utee" as the B-side. He played guitar on both tracks, which also included background

vocals byArthur Lee. The single failed to chart, but Hendrix and Lee began a friendship that lasted several years; Hendrix later became an ardent

supporter of Lee's band, Love.


In July 1965, on Nashville's Channel 5 Night Train, Hendrix made his first television appearance. Performing in Little Richard's ensemble band, he

backed up vocalists Buddy and Stacy on "Shotgun". The video recording of the show marks the earliest known footage of Hendrix performing.

Richard and Hendrix often clashed over tardiness, wardrobe, and Hendrix's stage antics, and in late July, Richard's brother Robert fired him.[74] He

then briefly rejoined the Isley Brothers, and recorded a second single with them, "Move Over and Let Me Dance" backed with "Have You Ever Been

Disappointed".Later that year, he joined a New York-based R&B band, Curtis Knight and the Squires, after meeting Knight in the lobby of a hotel

where both men were staying. Hendrix performed with them for eight months. In October 1965, he and Knight recorded the single, "How Would You

Feel" backed with "Welcome Home" and on October 15, Hendrix signed a three-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin While the

relationship with Chalpin was short-lived, his contract remained in force, which later caused legal and career problems for Hendrix.[79][nb 13]

During his time with Knight, Hendrix briefly toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters, and worked with King Curtis on several recordings including

Ray Sharpe's two-part single, "Help Me". Hendrix earned his first composer credits for two instrumentals, "Hornets Nest" and "Knock Yourself Out",

released as a Curtis Knight and the Squires single in 1966.


Feeling restricted by his experiences as an R&B sideman, Hendrix moved to New York City's Greenwich Village in 1966, which had a vibrant and

diverse music scene.[87] There, he was offered a residency at the Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street and formed his own band that June, Jimmy

James and the Blue Flames, which included future Spirit guitarist Randy California. The Blue Flames played at several clubs in New York and

Hendrix began developing his guitar style and material that he would soon use with the Experience. In September, they gave some of their last

concerts at the Cafe au Go Go, as John Hammond Jr.'s backing group.






The Forum post is edited by bninna Aug 12 '15


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