Today marks 50 years since the loss of Jimi Hendrix, a figure with an innate talent for making his fingers dance on the guitar and who seduced an entire generation. This aptitude made him the creator of splendid compositions and one of the most influential artists in rock history.
James Marshall Hendrix was born in a humble neighborhood in Seattle (Washington, USA) in 1942. The rock legend began his bond with the guitar in a self-taught way when he was a teenager and learning from musicians also legendary like B.B King.
His enormous love and skill, in addition to his vocation, were enough for him to clearly pursue his goals in music, even though, at first there was a certain skepticism around him.
In 1962 it was the year he began acting in local with his group. In the period that begins in that year begins to forge the special and magnetic aura that the African American artist generated in his concerts. In the following three years Hendrix developed his style, character and attitude, consolidating his musical knowledge, influences influences and research into the roots of blues, playing in various groups such as the Chitlin Circuit or the King Casual, and performing even as a support musician for singers such as Chuck Jackson.
In January 1964, he moved to the Harlem neighborhood of New York, USA, leaving behind his learning stage and also the racism and degradation he found in the south of the country. Success is terrifying that year when he is recruited by Isley Brothers and toured the nation, as well as recording the theme “Testify”, a single that soon later became a radio hit.
Between 1964 and 1965 he worked with idols such as Little Richard or Ike and Tina Turner, with whom he would have some conflict due to the already singular and eclipsing attitude of the guitarist on stage. Later he joins the band Curtis Knight and The Squires. But it was not until 1965 when he created the group with which he will jump to the rock Olympus, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, thanks to Chas Chandler, bassist of the band The Animals, who suggested traveling to London and forming a group that would fit in with the musician . In this way, the new group is configured in which they will be as bassist, Noel Redding and as drummer, Mitch Mitchell.
Hendrix did not imagine that Paul McCartney himself would be among the audience of his shows in the British capital. He recommended to the organizers of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival the assistance of the musician and his band. This meant his first truly important presentation in the United States and turned out to be an epic moment in his career. This concert saw the famous moment when Hendrix destroyed his guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, and burned it on fire. This fact certainly struck all the spectators and was captured for eternity by the camera of a young man who was in the first ranks.
Another of his stellar moments took place at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 (Bethlehem, New York), before a large hippie congregation marked by the Vietnam War and May 68 French. It was also Hendrix’s longest performance in his entire musical career and performed it without his usual companions. Hendrix went on stage with Larry Lee as second guitarist and Billie Cox as bass player. An electrifying and brilliant performance in which the guitarist played the anthem of the United States, charging him with political and social conscience and criticism by imitating the fire of the weapons, launching bombs and flying rockets, symbol of condemnation of the Vietnam war.
On 18 September 1970, Jimi Hendrix was found dead in a London hotel due to suffocation and overdose. However, many have been the hypotheses about his death. He was included in the “Club of the 27” for being this age when he died.
A way to pay tribute to him? See a fragment, about 6 minutes long, that-is part of the documentary “Music, Money, Madness…”, available on YouTube. It features a scenery covered with fabrics in blue, pink and flowing greens, along with a marabunta of 70-year-old youth waiting for their appearance. Suddenly, Jimi Hendrix begins playing the first notes of “Voodoo Child,” the last song from the album Electric Ladyland, on the Hawaina Island of Maui. A performance with a theme that would become one of the artist’s most iconic songs.
Three unforgettable records, a prodigious mind, its symbiotic union with the guitar… but also its addictions, frantic tours and a bitter end point. A personal and musical life that has left the story of a legend and the most ethereal and personal sounds of rock from its unique way of playing the electronic guitar.
Jimi Hendrix had an obsessive and special arrow with music, something he once stated: “I want to make music so perfect that it leaks through the body and is able to cure any disease”