On November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington a later-to-be-known legend was born as James Marshall. This future guitar master went by the name of Jimi, Jimi Hendrix. His childhood was not very fortunate, however, he did indulge himself in one particular way: Jimi loved to play the guitar. Jimi could never afford to take lessons so he taught himself. At first he played an old acoustic guitar, and later a cheap Silvertone electric. Both of these guitars were both strung for a lefty on a right-handed guitar, one of the defining Hendrix traits.
Jimi would have preferred to play a guitar that was made for lefty's but his parents wouldn't pay the extra money because they were extremely poor. As a teenager, young Jimi listened to typical fifties music such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Elvis Pressly and even a little Eddie Cochrane. He played in a few bands in high school, but then dropped out before his senior year. Jimi really never really imagined that he had enough talent to go into the music industry, actually he thought he had no talent whatsoever and had a terrible voice. Jimi had then decided to apply for a real job. The first couple of jobs he had never really worked out.
He started off working in retail then later fixing items such as radios and telephones. So in the year of 1959 Jimi through his Fender Strat over his shoulder, and enlisted in the 101st Airborne as a paratrooper. Jimi enjoyed his time spent in the 101st Airborne. However, after 25 successful jumps, he broke his ankle.
After 14 months of military service, he received an honorable discharge from the army. Jimi had realized his only choice was to do what he loved; play the guitar. Jimi began to write music and play local gigs. Before he knew it he was opening for King Curtis, The Isley Brothers, and even Little Richard. Hendrix's big break occurred when he was playing at a club in Green which Village called Caf'e Wha. At this New York club was a young record producer, and lead bassist of the Animals that went by the name of Chas Chandler.
Chas particularly liked Jimi's charisma for his music. He had enjoyed listening to him immensely and once he had saw Jimi play the guitar with his teeth and behind his back, Chas knew someday he would be a star. Soon after in 1966 Chandler brought Jimi to London, where he introduced Jimi to 'the music life. ' Chas had realized that if Jimi was going to be successful, it was necessary for him to be in a band, not just a solo artist. Hendrix and Chandler had auditioned a number of musicians to be in the new band, which was to be called The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi and Chandler had decided upon a trio with Hendrix on guitar and vocals, Mitch Mitchell on drums, and Noel Redding on bass.
The first album was recorded and released with the name of, Are You Experienced? on May 12, 1967 in England. After its initial success there, the album was released on August 26, 1967 in the United States. Of the single "Hey Joe", which was the first song recorded for Are You Experienced? , Hendrix said: "It's a commercial record, . but everyone found that better for the first time. It's just a phase, it's only a very small part of us". Another Hendrix tune from Are You Experienced? was "Purple Haze".
Many people have the conception that the song Purple Haze is about drugs. Anyone who thinks that Purple Haze is about drugs is entirely wrong. Purple Haze was written by Jimi shortly after a dream he had. In the dream, Jimi was walking under the sea, surrounded by purple haze. He became lost and Jesus saved him. The song was originally called "Purple Haze-Jesus saves".
Purple Haze was described as "the band's break-through single in America" This song was the one that had really sparked Hendrix's album sales. After Purple Haze, Hendrix was known as a rock star, and people demanded to hear more. Jimi's second album entitled Axis: Bold as Love was an immediate success. This album expressed the way Jimi felt about being an Indian African American. Jimi had said 'I think I care just as much about the Album cover on this record than the music itself. ' The album cover consisted of a cartoon of the band members with Indian imagery surrounding them.
Jimi had thought it was great, for some odd reason he was extremely fascinated with the cover. Jimi had purely written this album for his fans, as he wrote his first album mostly for himself. Though when someone had asked him what the difference was between the two albums he replied, 'The changes in music between the two records are for you to decide. We " re just playing the way we feel. ' Jimi had never really put any effort into composing his next album which was titled Electric Ladyland. This album was a reference to groupies, but Jimi preferred to call them 'electric ladies.
' The album wasn't as successful as his past two albums due to his lack of effort, but it still sold enormous amounts of copies. The biggest hit of this album and his life wasn't even written by Jimi -- it was written by rock star, Bob Dylan. This song was called All Along the Watch Tower, and it combined heavy vocals, with extraordinary guitar playing. All Along The Watchtower was a protest song that was pure and simple. During the late 1960's music such as this were very popular because they protested against the Vietnam War, the draft, and government in general. The songs on Electric Ladyland showed a marked turn for Hendrix that indicated that as his comfort in his own abilities and heritage grew, the faith that he once had in the world was being torn apart by the Vietnam War and his increasing realization that everything in the world is not necessarily made better by his own success.
By the time the next album was to be recorded, the Jimi Hendrix Experience had broken up. Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell had moved on to different musical projects. Jimi was dedicated to his music and determined to continue his music career. Jimi had then formed a new band entitled Band of Gypsies. This band was very similar to the Jimi Hendrix experience despite the fact that there was a different bassist and drummer. This album was dedicated to all of the fighters in the Vietnam War and was titled First Rays of The New Rising Sun.
This album expressed his feelings on war and peace. For example a song called 'Freedom,' had discussed Jimi's feelings on the Vietnam War and how he once wished someday world peace could occur. He had said that it was by far his most personal album. Fans liked the new band, even though they really couldn't tell the difference between the bands. In the year of 1969 the famous concert Woodstock occurred in Woodstock, NY.
Woodstock was a music fest that featured music from The Who, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and many other rock bands. Most people that went to Woodstock 69' remember Jimi Hendrix's performance of the Star Spangled Banner the most. Jimi had transformed our country's Star Spangled Banner into a heavy rock song. This version of the Star Spangled Banner became known to be an anthem for Woodstock 69'. Jimi never had planned to perform the Star Spangled Banner but his hands were extremely cold and he wanted to keep them warm so after he preformed the song Voodoo Child he had gone right into it.
Not surprisingly everyone was extremely enthusiastic for Jimi and wanted to hear an encore of our Countries anthem. On Friday, September 17, 1970 Jimi was staying in London with a girlfriend named Monika Danneman. He had a big gig to play the next day so he needed to get some sleep. He took some sleeping pills and went to bed. The next morning Danneman saw that Jimi had vomited during the night but paid no attention to it. When she tried to wake him a little later and he did not stir, she called an ambulance.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Jimi had died of suffocation from his vomit. Many people think that Jimi may have been trying to commit suicide but it was proven that he wasn't. If he wanted to commit suicide he would have taken a lot more than 6 pills when there were 45 in the bottle. Jimi had told many people that his life could have been any better at the time. The night before he had been working on a new song. The closing lines were: The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye The story of love is hello and goodbye Until we meet again.