Guitar god and hippie icon Jimi Hendrix
Some call him the greatest guitarist of all time, but Jimi Hendrix was much more than a rock'n'roll star. He transcended boundaries in just four short years, and influenced generations of guitarists to come.
Jimi Hendrix, early days
Jimi Hendrix's career began in various bands where he played rock'n'roll or cover songs — which soon bored him. When he founded his first band, he experimented with electronics, playing techniques and amplifiers and invented the sound with which he hit the music scene in the late 1960s like a meteorite. There is good reason he later called himself "The Man from Mars."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
England, 1966: Jimi Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell (left) and bassist Noel Redding as the newly formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Their first album was released a year later, and "Are You Experienced" climbed to number two in the UK Charts, just behind the Beatles' – who were Hendrix fans — "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
'Experience' in Monterey
Off to the US, where Hendrix played alongside The Animals, Janis Joplin, The Who and various other top acts at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 to a crowd of 90,000 — many more than the expected 10,000 festival goers. Hendrix's wild show included smashing and burning a guitar. As the "Los Angeles Times" put it, Jimi left the stage having "graduated from rumor to legend."
Teeth, lips, tongue
A guitar was more than just an instrument to Jimi Hendrix – it was also a playground and a sex object. Left-handed, Hendrix had his right-handed guitars restrung with the bass string on top. It changed everything, becoming the basis of his signature sound. Playing with his teeth or tongue was just one of the many ways he expressed his unique style.
Music history in Woodstock
August 1969: Jimi Hendrix was the headliner, and scheduled to play the grand finale on Sunday evening at the Woodstock festival. For various reasons, it was Monday morning before he came on stage. Most of the 500,000 visitors had already left. Undeterred, Hendrix played a legendary two hour set — and the most famous solo of his life on "Star Spangled Banner."
His last festival
September 1970: Wet and stormy weather delayed Jimi's performance at the "Love & Peace" festival on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn. 25,000 fans were miffed and many booed as he walked on stage a day late. Jimi's response: "Boo, boo....I don't give a fuck if you boo, as long as you boo in key....you mothers." The weather cleared, and Jimi played another epic 90-minute set.
Last curtain call
Fehmarn was Jimi Hendrix's last big live concert. On September 17, he performed with Eric Burdon & War in a club in London. In his hotel room later that night, he couldn't sleep. He resorted to a fatal mix: a bottle of wine and a lot of sleeping pills. Jimi Hendrix choked on his own vomit and died of asphyxia. He was laid to rest in his home town of Seattle on October 1, 1970.