Jimi Hendrix is considered by many to be the best guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington in 1942 and was given the name Johnny Allen Hendrix by his mother Lucille, who was only seventeen at the time of his birth. Lucille left Jimi with friends shortly after his birth until his father was released from the army and took him and changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, and Lucille ultimately reunited with the family. In 1961, after some trouble with the law, Hendrix enlisted in the army, but was discharged only a year later for being a sub-par soldier. Upon his discharge from the army, Hendrix moved to Tennessee where he began his music career.
Hendrix was completely self taught, making his talent even more impressive, and it wasn't until he was fifteen years old that he got his first acoustic guitar from a friend of his fathers. After receiving his first guitar, Jimi practiced constantly, and in 1959 his father purchased Jimi's first electric guitar, and his first band, The King Kasuals was formed after his move to Tennessee. The band played at small obscure venues for very little pay and it was during this time that Hendrix learned to play his guitar with his teeth. Jimi's time spent as part of The King Kasuals was very important for his career, and really helped him to fine tune his style and talents.
In 1964, after becoming frustrated with his experiences in the south, Jimi picked up and moved to New York City where he eventually met his girlfriend Faye and the Allen brothers, who supplied Hendrix with shelter and much support. In his first year in New York, Hendrix won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater and was hired as a guitarist for the band the Isley Brothers. He left the Isley Brothers after a short time, and arrived in Atlanta in October of 1964 where he was hired by Little Richard to perform on tour. While on tour in Los Angeles, Hendrix played a part for Rosa Lee Brooks single, "My Diary" and for Little Richard's final single on his album, Vee-Jay. After his recordings in LA, Hendrix made his first television appearance on Channel 5's "Night Train" in Nashville, Tennessee but Jimi and Little Richard did not get along, and he was eventually either fired or left, and briefly went back to play with the Isley Brothers. In 1965, after again parting ways with the Isley Brothers, Hendrix joined a band called Curtis Knight and The Squires, and then toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters for two months before rejoining the squires.
Hendrix signed his first music contract in October of 1965 with entrepreneur Ed Chaplin. It was a three year recording contract which stated that Hendrix would receive $1 and 1% royalty. The relationship between Hendrix and Chaplin was short lived but the contract remained in place, and caused many problems for Hendrix later in his career. By 1966 there was huge demand for Hendrix, and played sessions on many different artists albums, and eventually he formed his own bands, The Blue Flames, and then Spirit. Early in 1966, Hendrix met Linda Keith who was the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Linda introduced Jimi to Keith, with whom he became friends, and she also introduced Hendrix to Chas Chandler who was looking for talented people to manage and produce. Chandler was very impressed with Jimi's talent, and took him to London where he gave him a record contract and helped him with his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was in London that Hendrix was introduced to Eric Clapton, and the two remained friends up until the time of Hendrix's death.
By 1969, Hendrix had found huge success and popularity internationally but had yet to crack the American music scene. Paul McCartney helped Hendrix break into the American music scene by recommending The Jimi Hendrix Experience play at the Monterey International Pop Festival which was a huge opportunity for Hendrix due to the huge audience and large amounts of journalists at the concert. The performance was taped for a documentary about the festival and immortalized Hendrix for his famed burning and smashing of his guitar during the finale of his performance. After Hendrix's performance at the Monterey Festival he gained huge popularity in the US and went on the play at the famed Woodstock music festival where he delivered a very memorable performance.
From an early age Hendrix began to show his musical talent, and throughout his lifetime he gained huge fame and success. Hendrix was in many bands and performed with many of the other great music legends of his time. Unfortunately, Hendrix's life was cut short when he died on September 18th, 1970 in London at only 27 years old. It is said that Hendrix died of an overdose but it seems that this was never truly confirmed. Although Hendrix died at a very young age, he was an amazing talent, and is today considered a legend, as well as one of, it not the number one greatest guitar player to date.
Jimi Hendrix Biography - information on the early life of Hendrix up to the time of his death
Official Jimi Hendrix - the official Jimi Hendrix website, containing a biography, discography, music and videos, a store, and more
Jimi's Death - a review of the 1970 article by Circus Magazine regarding the death of Jimi Hendrix
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame - information on the induction of The Jimi Hendrix Experience into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1992
Hendrix Fan Club - a club for fans of the musician, the site also has pictures, music, lyrics, and links
Purple Haze - lyrics and interesting facts on one of the most famous Hendrix songs