Today would have been the 75th birthday of rock and roll icon Jimi Hendrix.

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle on November 27th, 1942, he grew up to become one of the most original and influential guitarist of the 1960s. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 1992, called him "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music."

He played a white Fender Stratocaster left-handed, making liberal use of feedback, volume and vibrato, and wrote songs with trippy lyrics.

After serving in the military and working as a sideman for such R&B stars as the Isley Brothers, King Curtis and Little Richard, he moved to London in 1966 and became an instant sensation there.

His manager, Chas Chandler of The Animals, helped him recruit a rhythm section and got the trio -- dubbed The Jimi Hendrix Experience -- a record deal. Their first album, 1967's Are You Experienced, included such classics of his as "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady" and "Fire."


A shocking performance at the Monterey Pop festival that summer helped break him in America. His howling rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969 became a memorable signpost of the era.

He shed the Experience in 1969 and relaunched himself in The Band of Gypsys with a live album recorded on New Year's Day 1970.

Nine months later, on September 18th, 1970, he died in his sleep in a London apartment, having choked on his own vomit. Jimi Hendrix was 27.

Despite forever being recognized as one of the greatest guitar players of the 20th century, he told a British journalist just seven days before his death in September 1970, that he didn't like being pigeonholed.

Source: Premiere                                                  photo credit - iHM archive

Lisa Berigan

Lisa Berigan

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