Five Things to Know About Jimi Hendrix
Rock legend and guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, captivated audiences with his unmatched electric guitar-playing skills and his experimental sounds. Hendrix, born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington, went on to become one of the most well-known guitarists, singers and songwriters of his time. Here are five things to know about the late great Hendrix.
- Hendrix Wasn’t Always Known As “Jimi.” He was born John Allen Hendrix to Al and Lucille Hendrix. After his father returned home from fighting in World War II, he renamed his son James Marshall. By the time Hendrix began performing, he was using the name, Jimmy James. It wasn’t until a suggestion from Chas Chandler (Hendrix’s manager) that he decided to change his name again and go by “Jimi.”
- He Was a Self-Taught Artist. The first instrument Hendrix learned to play was a one-string Ukulele that he received from his father after pretending to play a broom. Although he is known for his guitar skills, the musician could not actually read music. He was self taught and often communicated his musical visions through colors.
- He was a High School Drop Out. Shortly after forming his music group, the Rocking Kings, Hendrix dropped out of high school in 1959. He worked odd jobs while continuing to follow his musical aspirations and eventually enlisted in the United States Army. While in the Army, Hendrix still found time for music and created the King Kasuals. After being discharged he began working and recording sessions with top performers.
- He Started His Career on the “Chitlin Circuit.” Before hitting the stage as a musician, Hendrix was on stage performing on “Chitlin’ Circuit” from 1963-1966. That’s where he learned guitar tricks such as playing with his teeth or playing behind his head. After leaving the chitlin’ circuit, Hendrix went on to perform more than 600 shows and festivals from 1966 to 1970. He played with Little Richard‘s band and performed with the likes of Ike and Tina Turner and The Isley Brothers.
- His Former Home Is Now a Museum. Fans of Hendrix can visit London for a look at where Hendrix lived before his death. In 2016, the London apartment complex where Hendrix resided was restored into a replica of what it would have looked like when Jimi lived there and it is now a museum. The living room, which also served as his bedroom, featured bohemian décor and there is a pack of Benson & Hedges cigarettes on the bedside table. There’s also space dedicated to his record collection. The remainder of the building is dedicated to his life and work.
Hendrix is praised as an ultimate guitarist for his unique abilities. His career came to an unexpected end when he died in London from drug-related complications on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.