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Jimi Hendrix: An Icon in the Making

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Photo Credit: Ted Soqui

It’s quite a journey from Hendrix’s humble youth in the Northwest to playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” after a two-hour encore at Woodstock, which would define the hippie generation. Hendrix accomplished more in 27 years than most accomplish over the course of their entire life. Here’s some, but not all, of Hendrix’s finest moments.

 

1942 – November 27, Johnny Allen Hendrix is born. His mother is only 17 years old.

 

1946 – Young Hendrix’s father renames him James Marshall Hendrix because he dislikes Jimi’s birth name.

 

1950s – Jimi and his friends become instantly obsessed with a new music style called “rock ‘n’ roll,” after witnessing performers like Little Richard and Elvis.

 

1958 – Hendrix’s mother, whom he idolized, dies of cirrhosis when he is only 15.

 

1959 – Hendrix’s father buys him his first electric guitar, a white Supro Ozark.

 

1961 – May 31, After being caught in a stolen car twice, law enforcement gives him an ultimatum: Go to jail or the Army, so he enlists in the Army. He completes basic training at Fort Ord, California and gets sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Photo courtesy Purple Haze Properties

1962 – July 2, Captain Gilbert Batchman grants Hendrix an honorable discharge from the 101st Airborne Division, mentioning that Hendrix is meant for other things, not the military.

1963 – The young guitarist’s career soars as he’s hired as a backup R&B and blues musician for a slew of major recording artists, although some instances are disputed.

Hendrix joins Little Richard’s band, tours with them, and records “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me” with Little Richard.

 

1964 – Hendrix wins first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur contest. Ronnie Isley takes notice, and The Isley Brothers hire Hendrix.

 

1965 – Hendrix forms Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, and he plays hippie clubs around Greenwich Village, New York.

1966 – Linda Keith, Keith Richard’s girlfriend, notices Hendrix’s greatness and immediately gives him Keith Richard’s Fender Stratocaster.

Photo courtesy Purple Haze Properties

Sept. 23 – Chas Chandler quits The Animals, specifically to manage Hendrix. Chandler brands his name as “Jimi Hendrix” and takes Hendrix to London to help him break into the mainstream and solidify his psychedelic image.

In London, Hendrix hires Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell to form The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Rock ‘n’ roll will never be the same.

1967 – June 18, Jimi’s performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival is a pivotal moment in rock history. After Pete Townshend from The Who makes a statement by smashing his guitar, Jimi makes an even bigger statement by kindling a fire on top of his electric guitar. The crowd goes nuts.

 

1969 – August 15, Hendrix’s legendary performance at Woodstock in New York would go down for eternity, forever ingrained in history.

December 8 – Hendrix testified to the Toronto Supreme Court about hashish and other drugs he was caught possessing at the airport.

 

1970 – Sept. 18, Hendrix was found dead in a London hotel room. The autopsy revealed he had died form an overdose of barbiturates, despite his friends explaining that Hendrix rarely overused drugs.

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