Hello fellow retrojunkies! tis' davidyck here, the author of some articles on this site. the last time i was seen was in my last article, "remember archie comics", an article detailing the life of archie comics.(some users asked for a sequel,dont worry im working on it) in this article, ill be writing the life of a famous guitarist- namely, JIMI HENDRIX.
the best guitarist who ever lived.
jimi hendrix was born on november 27 1942 in seattle washington born with the name johnny allen hendrix. his dad was away at world war 2 at the time and was not able to attend his birth. his mom was not able to attend to him so little johnny allen was sent to a couple who lived in california. finally when ww2 was done, johnny allens dad was sent home and maneged to retrieve his son. at this point johnny allen was renamed james marshall hendrix, named after his uncle who died in the war.
unfourtunaltley, like many war veterans, life was hard for the family.james's dad could not find work, and at age 9, james parents divorced. things were not so much better at school, as james was made fun of for his ethnic background and colour. at home, life was unstable, as james found himself moving back and forth between his parents and his grandparents.becouse of this, james became a shy and sensitive boy.
but through it all, james found an intrest in guitars. as a kid, his family was too poor to afford a guitar, so james used the old brooms and plucked the imaginary strings that were on there.
finally at age 14, james's wish came true. for 5 bucks he picked himself up an old acoustic guitar. and this started his career in music. a year later, from his dad he recieved an electric guitar, and from this moment, james knew he wanted to be a guitarist.
from other guitarists, james learned the art of guitaring. he learned how to play by watching others, and since there was a band named "the sharps" in town, they also tought james some of the tricks that james would later perform to astound crowds. becouse of his surprising talent in the field, he became a local 'back-up guitarist' for the bands in the area, if there was a guitarist who was sick, james was called to fill in.
james's first gig for a band came in the late 1950s, when james was in his late teen years. he was called to be a guitarist for a band, but was fired becouse of his wild playing and showing off. this did not matter however as he was later hired for another band named the 'velvetones'. he became an instant star, becouse of his wild style, and the fact that he played a righthanded guitar with his left hand (he held the guitar upside down)
james was later expelled from his high school. he was cought holding hands with a white girl in the study hall, and was expelled on the spot.
during his late teenagehood/early adulthood, james was arrested twice for stealing cars. the 2nd time he was arrested, he was given a choice-go to jail, or go to war. james picked the latter, sending him off to battle.
james hated war. during the war james tried faking homosexuality so that he could go home. this did not work. he even faked breaking his leg, in the hopes that he would be allowed to go home. nothing worked.
james wasent the only one who wanted himself to go home. his commanding officers and fellow soldiers also wanted him to go home, due to his sleeping on duty,he had little regard for regulations and he needed constant supervision.
finally james got lucky. kicked off the army, james was sent back home. he teamed up with billy cox and made a band, performing occasionaly for other bands.
still got a long way to go before he becomes internationally famous.
working with billy cox, the 2 worked at a joint named 'del du morocco', where they were the house band. not satisfied with little jobs like this,james,(who by this time was being called jimi)moved to new york in search of a better chance at becoming famous. he found it difficult, but in the end he ended up recieving an award, the 'best amatuar' guitarist.
throughout the mid-60s,jimi moved constantly all over USA, looking for somebody who could make him famous. by 1966 he was getting quite in demand, looking desperatley for his big chance. he tried making his own band,"jimmy james and the blue flames"composed of people that he had met at the local music shop(one of the members was a 15 year old!),but this band failed as well.
finally, finally,FINALLY jimi got his big chance.linda keith, the girlfriend of guitarist of keith richards, took notice of him and recommended him to some music managers around town, looking for somebody who would hire him.nobody really liked him, becouse of his music,however, manager named chas chandler, took jimi, as he was capable of playing the song "hey joe", a song that chas chandler had just created.
and this started jimi's career. he was teamed up with 2 other musicians,noel redding and mitch mitchell. the band was named THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE.
and this is where jimi's career took off. at first he was only popular in the UK,but after a while the USA started to take notice of him. he started off with songs such as "hey joe","stone free" and the "wind cries mary", but hsi song that made him internationally famous, considered one of his best songs ever,(and still popular today) was "purple haze". this song alone showed jimi as a master of the guitar.
on may 12,1967, jimi released his first album, titled "are you experienced".
this album became the most popular music album of the year, until the beatles new album beat it.
throughout 1967, jimi toured the world, showing everybody his incredible talent. in march 31 1967 he performed his famous routine where he lit his guitar on fire.
after this performance, jimi's name was known all over the world. jimi released his 2nd album, "axis:bold as love".
jimi was really disapointed in this album. there were several things wrong with it. for starters, look at the cover. the cover shows a hindu setting. the reason for this was that was that jimi had asked a painter to make a cover for his next album, showing his indian background,(as in native american) bu the painter misunderstood, thinking that jimi meant indian as in hindu from india. the result was this.
the album was almost never released. when jimi had finished making the album, jimi ended up forgetting the album in a taxi. it was inpossible to get the album back, so it ended up jimi had to do the entire thing over again. after the album was released, jimi had said that he wasent quite pleased with how the songs turned out, they were not as goof as the original versions, but there simply wasent enough time for them to make it better, so the album was released like this.
during this point jimi was getting increasingly popular. he was performing songs such as "little wing","if 6 was 9" and "castles made of sand". heres a picture of jimi in 1968.
jimi's 3rd and final album came in 1968.entitled "electric ladyland", this album showed jimi's amazing talent. jimi worked hard to make this album better than the last one, and i think it payed off as well. the album had songs such as "voodoo chile(slight return)"(which is what i think is one of jimi's best songs), "burning of the midnight lamp" and "all along the watchtower".
1969 was a disastrous year for the jimi hendrix experience though. at one performance, the band was constantly having trouble with eccentric fans, and at one point the band had to even leave the building they performed in in the back of a moving truck. noel redding announced that he was uncomfortable with this and said that he wanted to leave the band. after this jimi just couldn't find anybody to replace noel.as if that wasn't enough, the band kept having illegal troubles.
but 1969 wasent an all bad year. anybody familier with the 1960s knows that in 1969 came the famous WOODSTOCK MUSIC FESTIVAL, a music festival where famous singers from all over the USA came to the town of woodstock to perform in front of an audience. obviously, jimi was asked to perform as one of the many guests singers.
this, on my opinion was jimi's best performance. people were absolutley enthralled at his performance, as jimi performed many of his best songs, such as voodoo chile,(slight return),purple haze,red house,fire,(which is what i think is another of his best songs) and he even did his own version of the star-spangled banner.during his songs, one of his guitar strings broke and at one point he forgot his part for the guitar (so he had to inprovise)
but in the end he did an outstanding performance. heres a picture of him with him showing the peace symbol at the end of his performance.
after 1969, came 1970- the last year of jimmy's life. on January 1st he performed "machine gun" a song on the subject on the horrors of war. towards the middle, jimi actually imitated a machine gun with his guitar, and atomic bombs.1970 was a great year for jimmy, but on September 18 of that year he was found dead in the morning. he had vomited in his sleep and had choked on it.
the world seemed empty when jimi was gone. jimi, when he was alive was known widely for his insane guitar tricks, his charismatic personality(jimi also had a good sense of humor) and the fact that he represented that rascism was wrong, is wrong and will always be wrong. he showed the world that black people were just as talented as the white people, and in this way he helped racism problems. im not black myself, but i agree that racism is awful and has to stop. in reality i wrote this article because a couple days ago was anti-racism day, and i thought i would help out this age-old problem by writing this. i hope you enjoyed this piece, whether your a jimi hendrix fan or not. i myself am, or else i wouldn't have wrote this.
so heres to the greatest guitarist ever.
JIMI HENDRIX 1942-1970]