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James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".
Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and trained as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division; he was granted a discharge "under honorable conditions" the following year. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the Chitlin' Circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers' backing band and later with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-1965. He then played with Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after being discovered by Linda Keith, who in turn interested bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals in becoming his first manager. Within months, Hendrix had earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary". He achieved fame in the U.S. after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached number one in the U.S.; it was Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his first and only number one album. The world's highest-paid performer, he headlined the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, before his accidental death from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27.
Hendrix was inspired musically by American rock and roll and electric blues. He favored overdriven amplifiers with high volume and gain, and was instrumental in popularizing the previously undesirable sounds caused by guitar amplifier feedback. He was also one of the first guitarists to make extensive use of tone-altering effects units, such as fuzz tone, Octavia, wah-wah, and Uni-Vibe in mainstream rock. He was the first artist to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone commented: "Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began."
Hendrix was the recipient of several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year, and in 1968, Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked the band's three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time, and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.
Ancestry and childhood:
Jimi Hendrix had a diverse heritage. His paternal grandmother, Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, was African American and one-quarter Cherokee. Hendrix's paternal grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix (born 1866), was born out of an extramarital affair between a woman named Fanny, and a grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio, or Illinois, one of the wealthiest men in the area at that time. After Hendrix and Moore relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, they had a son they named James Allen Hendrix on June 10, 1919; the family called him "Al".
In 1941, after moving to Seattle, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance; they married on March 31, 1942. Lucille's father (Jimi's maternal grandfather) was Preston Jeter (born 1875), whose mother was born in similar circumstances as Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix. Lucille's mother, née Clarice Lawson, had African American and Cherokee ancestors. Al, who had been drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding. Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle; he was the first of Lucille's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.
Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth. During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise their son. When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends, especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding. Al received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on September 1, 1945. Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to the Berkeley, California, home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and had attempted to adopt Hendrix; this is where Al saw his son for the first time.
After returning from service, Al reunited with Lucille, but his inability to find steady work left the family impoverished. They both struggled with alcohol, and often fought when intoxicated. The violence sometimes drove Hendrix to withdraw and hide in a closet in their home. His relationship with his brother Leon (born 1948) was close but precarious; with Leon in and out of foster care, they lived with an almost constant threat of fraternal separation. In addition to Leon, Hendrix had three younger siblings: Joseph, born in 1949, Kathy in 1950, and Pamela, 1951, all of whom Al and Lucille gave up to foster care and adoption. The family frequently moved, staying in cheap hotels and apartments around Seattle. On occasion, family members would take Hendrix to Vancouver to stay at his grandmother's. A shy and sensitive boy, he was deeply affected by his life experiences. In later years, he confided to a girlfriend that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a man in uniform. On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced; the court granted Al custody of him and Leon.
At Horace Mann Elementary School in Seattle during the mid-1950s, Hendrix's habit of carrying a broom with him to emulate a guitar gained the attention of the school's social worker. After more than a year of his clinging to a broom like a security blanket, she wrote a letter requesting school funding intended for underprivileged children, insisting that leaving him without a guitar might result in psychological damage. Her efforts failed, and Al refused to buy him a guitar.
In 1957, while helping his father with a side-job, Hendrix found a ukulele amongst the garbage they were removing from an older woman's home. She told him that he could keep the instrument, which had only one string. Learning by ear, he played single notes, following along to Elvis Presley songs, particularly "Hound Dog". By the age of 33, Hendrix's mother Lucille had developed cirrhosis of the liver, and on February 2, 1958, she died when her spleen ruptured. Al refused to take James and Leon to attend their mother's funeral; he instead gave them shots of whiskey and instructed them that was how men should deal with loss. In 1958, Hendrix completed his studies at Washington Junior High School and began attending, but did not graduate from, Garfield High School.
In mid-1958, at age 15, Hendrix acquired his first acoustic guitar, for $5 (equivalent to $43.40 in 2018). He played for hours daily, watching others and learning from more experienced guitarists, and listening to blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson. The first tune Hendrix learned to play was the television theme "Peter Gunn". Around that time, Hendrix jammed with boyhood friend Sammy Drain and his keyboard-playing brother. In 1959, attending a concert by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters in Seattle, Hendrix met the group's guitarist Billy Davis. Davis showed him some guitar licks and later got him a short gig with the Midnighters. The two remained friends until Hendrix's death in 1970.
Soon after he acquired the acoustic guitar, Hendrix formed his first band, the Velvetones. Without an electric guitar, he could barely be heard over the sound of the group. After about three months, he realized that he needed an electric guitar. In mid-1959, his father relented and bought him a white Supro Ozark. Hendrix's first gig was with an unnamed band in the Jaffe Room of Seattle's Temple De Hirsch Sinai, but they fired him between sets for showing off. He joined the Rocking Kings, which played professionally at venues such as the Birdland club. When his guitar was stolen after he left it backstage overnight, Al bought him a red Silvertone Danelectro.
Before Hendrix was 19 years old, law authorities had twice caught him riding in stolen cars. Given a choice between prison or joining the Army, he chose the latter and enlisted on May 31, 1961. After completing eight weeks of basic training at Fort Ord, California, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He arrived on November 8, and soon afterward he wrote to his father: "There's nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school ... you get hell. They work you to death, fussing and fighting." In his next letter home, Hendrix, who had left his guitar at his girlfriend Betty Jean Morgan's house in Seattle, asked his father to send it to him as soon as possible, stating: "I really need it now." His father obliged and sent the red Silvertone Danelectro on which Hendrix had hand-painted the words "Betty Jean" to Fort Campbell. His apparent obsession with the instrument contributed to his neglect of his duties, which led to taunting and physical abuse from his peers, who at least once hid the guitar from him until he had begged for its return.
In November 1961, fellow serviceman Billy Cox walked past an army club and heard Hendrix playing. Impressed by Hendrix's technique, which Cox described as a combination of "John Lee Hooker and Beethoven", Cox borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed. Within weeks, they began performing at base clubs on the weekends with other musicians in a loosely organized band, the Casuals.
Hendrix completed his paratrooper training in just over eight months, and Major General C. W. G. Rich awarded him the prestigious Screaming Eagles patch on January 11, 1962. By February, his personal conduct had begun to draw criticism from his superiors. They labeled him an unqualified marksman and often caught him napping while on duty and failing to report for bed checks. On May 24, Hendrix's platoon sergeant, James C. Spears, filed a report in which he stated: "He has no interest whatsoever in the Army ... It is my opinion that Private Hendrix will never come up to the standards required of a soldier. I feel that the military service will benefit if he is discharged as soon as possible." On June 29, 1962, Hendrix was granted a discharge "under honorable conditions" on the basis of unsuitability. Hendrix later spoke of his dislike of the army and lied that he had received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump.
In September 1963, after Cox was discharged from the Army, he and Hendrix moved about twenty miles across the state line from Fort Campbell to Clarksville, Tennessee, and formed a band called the King Kasuals. Hendrix had watched Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and by now Alphonso 'Baby Boo' Young, the other guitarist in the band, was performing this guitar gimmick. Not to be upstaged, Hendrix learned to play with his teeth. He later commented: "The idea of doing that came to me...in Tennessee. Down there you have to play with your teeth or else you get shot.
There's a trail of broken teeth all over the stage." Although they began playing low-paying gigs at obscure venues, the band eventually moved to Nashville's Jefferson Street, which was the traditional heart of the city's black community and home to a thriving rhythm and blues music scene. They earned a brief residency playing at a popular venue in town, the Club del Morocco, and for the next two years Hendrix made a living performing at a circuit of venues throughout the South that were affiliated with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA), widely known as the Chitlin' Circuit. In addition to playing in his own band, Hendrix performed as a backing musician for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Ike & Tina Turner and Jackie Wilson.
In January 1964, feeling he had outgrown the circuit artistically, and frustrated by having to follow the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to venture out on his own. He moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he befriended Lithofayne Pridgon, known as "Faye", who became his girlfriend. A Harlem native with connections throughout the area's music scene, Pridgon provided him with shelter, support, and encouragement. Hendrix also met the Allen twins, Arthur and Albert. In February 1964, Hendrix won first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur contest. Hoping to secure a career opportunity, he played the Harlem club circuit and sat in with various bands. At the recommendation of a former associate of Joe Tex, Ronnie Isley granted Hendrix an audition that led to an offer to become the guitarist with the Isley Brothers' back-up band, the I.B. Specials, which he readily accepted.
In March 1964, Hendrix recorded the two-part single "Testify" with the Isley Brothers. Released in June, it failed to chart. In May, he provided guitar instrumentation for the Don Covay song, "Mercy Mercy". Issued in August by Rosemart Records and distributed by Atlantic, the track reached number 35 on the Billboard chart.
Hendrix toured with the Isleys during much of 1964, but near the end of October, after growing tired of playing the same set every night, he left the band. Soon afterward, Hendrix joined Little Richard's touring band, the Upsetters. During a stop in Los Angeles in February 1965, he recorded his first and only single with Richard, "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)", written by Don Covay and released by Vee-Jay Records. Richard's popularity was waning at the time, and the single peaked at number 92, where it remained for one week before dropping off the chart. Hendrix met singer Rosa Lee Brooks while staying at the Wilcox Hotel in Hollywood, and she invited him to participate in a recording session for her single, which included the Arthur Lee penned "My Diary" as the A-side, and "Utee" as the B-side. Hendrix played guitar on both tracks, which also included background vocals by Lee. The single failed to chart, but Hendrix and Lee began a friendship that lasted several years; Hendrix later became an ardent supporter of Lee's band, Love.
In July 1965, on Nashville's Channel 5 Night Train, Hendrix made his first television appearance. Performing in Little Richard's ensemble band, he backed up vocalists Buddy and Stacy on "Shotgun". The video recording of the show marks the earliest known footage of Hendrix performing. Richard and Hendrix often clashed over tardiness, wardrobe, and Hendrix's stage antics, and in late July, Richard's brother Robert fired him. He then briefly rejoined the Isley Brothers, and recorded a second single with them, "Move Over and Let Me Dance" backed with "Have You Ever Been Disappointed". Later that year, he joined a New York-based R&B band, Curtis Knight and the Squires, after meeting Knight in the lobby of a hotel where both men were staying. Hendrix performed with them for eight months. In October 1965, he and Knight recorded the single, "How Would You Feel" backed with "Welcome Home" and on October 15, Hendrix signed a three-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin. While the relationship with Chalpin was short-lived, his contract remained in force, which later caused legal and career problems for Hendrix. During his time with Knight, Hendrix briefly toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters, and worked with King Curtis on several recordings including Ray Sharpe's two-part single, "Help Me". Hendrix earned his first composer credits for two instrumentals, "Hornets Nest" and "Knock Yourself Out", released as a Curtis Knight and the Squires single in 1966.
Feeling restricted by his experiences as an R&B sideman, Hendrix moved in 1966 to New York City's Greenwich Village, which had a vibrant and diverse music scene. There, he was offered a residency at the Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street and formed his own band that June, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, which included future Spirit guitarist Randy California. The Blue Flames played at several clubs in New York and Hendrix began developing his guitar style and material that he would soon use with the Experience. In September, they gave some of their last concerts at the Cafe au Go Go, as John Hammond Jr.'s backing group.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience:
By May 1966, Hendrix was struggling to earn a living wage playing the R&B circuit, so he briefly rejoined Curtis Knight and the Squires for an engagement at one of New York City's most popular nightspots, the Cheetah Club. During a performance, Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, noticed Hendrix. She remembered: "playing mesmerised me". She invited him to join her for a drink; he accepted and the two became friends.
While Hendrix was playing with Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Keith recommended him to Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein. They failed to see Hendrix's musical potential, and rejected him. She then referred him to Chas Chandler, who was leaving the Animals and interested in managing and producing artists. Chandler saw the then-unknown Jimi Hendrix play in Cafe Wha?, a Greenwich Village, New York City nightclub. Chandler liked the Billy Roberts song "Hey Joe", and was convinced he could create a hit single with the right artist. Impressed with Hendrix's version of the song, he brought him to London on September 24, 1966, and signed him to a management and production contract with himself and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. On September 24, Hendrix gave an impromptu solo performance at The Scotch of St James, and later that night he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted for two and a half years.
Following Hendrix's arrival in London, Chandler began recruiting members for a band designed to highlight the guitarist's talents, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix met guitarist Noel Redding at an audition for the New Animals, where Redding's knowledge of blues progressions impressed Hendrix, who stated that he also liked Redding's hairstyle. Chandler asked Redding if he wanted to play bass guitar in Hendrix's band; Redding agreed. Chandler then began looking for a drummer and soon after, he contacted Mitch Mitchell through a mutual friend. Mitchell, who had recently been fired from Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, participated in a rehearsal with Redding and Hendrix where they found common ground in their shared interest in rhythm and blues. When Chandler phoned Mitchell later that day to offer him the position, he readily accepted. Chandler also convinced Hendrix to change the spelling of his first name from Jimmy to the exotic looking Jimi.
On October 1, 1966, Chandler brought Hendrix to the London Polytechnic at Regent Street, where Cream was scheduled to perform, and where Hendrix and Eric Clapton met. Clapton later commented: "He asked if he could play a couple of numbers. I said, 'Of course', but I had a funny feeling about him." Halfway through Cream's set, Hendrix took the stage and performed a frantic version of the Howlin' Wolf song "Killing Floor". In 1989, Clapton described the performance: "He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn't in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it ... He walked off, and my life was never the same again".
In mid-October 1966, Chandler arranged an engagement for the Experience as Johnny Hallyday's supporting act during a brief tour of France. Thus, the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed their very first show on October 13, 1966, at the Novelty in Evreux. Their enthusiastically received 15-minute performance at the Olympia theatre in Paris on October 18 marks the earliest known recording of the band. In late October, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, managers of the Who, signed the Experience to their newly formed label, Track Records, and the group recorded their first song, "Hey Joe", on October 23. "Stone Free", which was Hendrix's first songwriting effort after arriving in England, was recorded on November 2.
In mid-November, they performed at the Bag O'Nails nightclub in London, with Clapton, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Kevin Ayers in attendance. Ayers described the crowd's reaction as stunned disbelief: "All the stars were there, and I heard serious comments, you know 'shit', 'Jesus', 'damn' and other words worse than that." The successful performance earned Hendrix his first interview, published in Record Mirror with the headline: "Mr. Phenomenon". "Now hear this ... we predict that [Hendrix] is going to whirl around the business like a tornado", wrote Bill Harry, who asked the rhetorical question: "Is that full, big, swinging sound really being created by only three people?" Hendrix commented: "We don't want to be classed in any category ... If it must have a tag, I'd like it to be called, 'Free Feeling'. It's a mixture of rock, freak-out, rave and blues". Through a distribution deal with Polydor Records, the Experience's first single, "Hey Joe", backed with "Stone Free", was released on December 16, 1966. After appearances on the UK television shows Ready Steady Go! and the Top of the Pops, "Hey Joe" entered the UK charts on December 29 and peaked at number six. Further success came in March 1967 with the UK number three hit "Purple Haze", and in May with "The Wind Cries Mary", which remained on the UK charts for eleven weeks, peaking at number six. On March 12, 1967, he performed at the Troutbeck Hotel, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, where, after about 900 people turned up (the hotel was licensed for 250) the local police stopped the gig due to safety concerns.
On March 31, 1967, while the Experience waited to perform at the London Astoria, Hendrix and Chandler discussed ways in which they could increase the band's media exposure. When Chandler asked journalist Keith Altham for advice, Altham suggested that they needed to do something more dramatic than the stage show of the Who, which involved the smashing of instruments. Hendrix joked: "Maybe I can smash up an elephant", to which Altham replied: "Well, it's a pity you can't set fire to your guitar". Chandler then asked road manager Gerry Stickells to procure some lighter fluid. During the show, Hendrix gave an especially dynamic performance before setting his guitar on fire at the end of a 45-minute set. In the wake of the stunt, members of London's press labeled Hendrix the "Black Elvis" and the "Wild Man of Borneo".
Are You Experienced:
After the UK chart success of their first two singles, "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze", the Experience began assembling material for a full-length LP. Recording began at De Lane Lea Studios and later moved to the prestigious Olympic Studios. The album, Are You Experienced, features a diversity of musical styles, including blues tracks such as "Red House" and "Highway Chile", and the R&B song "Remember". It also included the experimental science fiction piece, "Third Stone from the Sun" and the post-modern soundscapes of the title track, with prominent backwards guitar and drums. "I Don't Live Today" served as a medium for Hendrix's guitar feedback improvisation and "Fire" was driven by Mitchell's drumming.
Released in the UK on May 12, 1967, Are You Experienced spent 33 weeks on the charts, peaking at number two. It was prevented from reaching the top spot by the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. On June 4, 1967, Hendrix opened a show at the Saville Theatre in London with his rendition of Sgt. Pepper's title track, which was released just three days previous. Beatles manager Brian Epstein owned the Saville at the time, and both George Harrison and Paul McCartney attended the performance. McCartney described the moment: "The curtains flew back and he came walking forward playing 'Sgt. Pepper'. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honors of my career." Released in the U.S. on August 23 by Reprise Records, Are You Experienced reached number five on the Billboard 200.
In 1989, Noe Goldwasser, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine, described Are You Experienced as "the album that shook the world ... leaving it forever changed". In 2005, Rolling Stone called the double-platinum LP Hendrix's "epochal debut", and they ranked it the 15th greatest album of all time, noting his "exploitation of amp howl", and characterizing his guitar playing as "incendiary ... historic in itself".
Monterey Pop Festival:
Although popular in Europe at the time, the Experience's first U.S. single, "Hey Joe", failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release on May 1, 1967. The group's fortunes improved when McCartney recommended them to the organizers of the Monterey Pop Festival. He insisted that the event would be incomplete without Hendrix, whom he called "an absolute ace on the guitar", and he agreed to join the board of organizers on the condition that the Experience perform at the festival in mid-June.
Introduced by Brian Jones as "the most exciting performer [he had] ever heard", Hendrix opened with a fast arrangement of Howlin' Wolf's song "Killing Floor", wearing what author Keith Shadwick described as "clothes as exotic as any on display elsewhere." Shadwick wrote: "[Hendrix] was not only something utterly new musically, but an entirely original vision of what a black American entertainer should and could look like." The Experience went on to perform renditions of "Hey Joe", B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby", Chip Taylor's "Wild Thing", and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", as well as four original compositions: "Foxy Lady", "Can You See Me", "The Wind Cries Mary", and "Purple Haze". The set ended with Hendrix destroying his guitar and tossing pieces of it out to the audience. Rolling Stone's Alex Vadukul wrote:
"When Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival he created one of rock's most perfect moments. Standing in the front row of that concert was a 17-year-old boy named Ed Caraeff. Caraeff had never seen Hendrix before nor heard his music, but he had a camera with him and there was one shot left in his roll of film. As Hendrix lit his guitar, Caraeff took a final photo. It would become one of the most famous images in rock and roll."
Caraeff stood on a chair next to the edge of the stage while taking a series of four monochrome pictures of Hendrix burning his guitar. Caraeff was close enough to the fire that he had to use his camera as a shield to protect his face from the heat. Rolling Stone later colorized the image, matching it with other pictures taken at the festival before using the shot for a 1987 magazine cover. burning guitar, hands raised, is one of the most famous images in rock." Author and historian Matthew C. Whitaker wrote: "Hendrix's burning of his guitar became an iconic image in rock history and brought him national attention." The Los Angeles Times asserted that, upon leaving the stage, Hendrix "graduated from rumor to legend". Author John McDermott commented: "Hendrix left the Monterey audience stunned and in disbelief at what they'd just heard and seen." According to Hendrix: "I decided to destroy my guitar at the end of a song as a sacrifice. You sacrifice things you love. I love my guitar." The performance was filmed by D. A. Pennebaker, and later included in the concert documentary Monterey Pop, which helped Hendrix gain popularity with the U.S. public.
Immediately after the festival, the Experience were booked for a series of five concerts at Bill Graham's Fillmore, with Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane. The Experience outperformed Jefferson Airplane during the first two nights, and replaced them at the top of the bill on the fifth. Following their successful West Coast introduction, which included a free open-air concert at Golden Gate Park and a concert at the Whisky a Go Go, the Experience were booked as the opening act for the first American tour of the Monkees. They requested Hendrix as a supporting act because they were fans, but their young audience disliked the Experience, who left the tour after six shows. Chandler later admitted that he engineered the tour in an effort to gain publicity for Hendrix.
|The Jimi Hendrix - Portugal Single 1967|
The second Experience album, Axis: Bold as Love, opens with the track "EXP", which utilized microphonic and harmonic feedback in a new, creative fashion. It also showcased an experimental stereo panning effect in which sounds emanating from Hendrix's guitar move through the stereo image, revolving around the listener. The piece reflected his growing interest in science fiction and outer space. He composed the album's title track and finale around two verses and two choruses, during which he pairs emotions with personas, comparing them to colors.
The song's coda features the first recording of stereo phasing. Shadwick described the composition as "possibly the most ambitious piece on Axis, the extravagant metaphors of the lyrics suggesting a growing confidence" in Hendrix's songwriting. His guitar playing throughout the song is marked by chordal arpeggios and contrapuntal motion, with tremolo-picked partial chords providing the musical foundation for the chorus, which culminates in what musicologist Andy Aledort described as "simply one of the greatest electric guitar solos ever played". The track fades out on tremolo-picked 32nd note double stops.
|Jimi Hendrix - France Single 1967|
Axis featured psychedelic cover art that depicts Hendrix and the Experience as various avatars of Vishnu, incorporating a painting of them by Roger Law, from a photo-portrait by Karl Ferris. The painting was then superimposed on a copy of a mass-produced religious poster. Hendrix stated that the cover, which Track spent $5,000 producing, would have been more appropriate had it highlighted his American Indian heritage. He commented: "You got it wrong ... I'm not that kind of Indian." Track released the album in the UK on December 1, 1967, where it peaked at number five, spending 16 weeks on the charts. In February 1968, Axis: Bold as Love reached number three in the U.S.
|Jimi Hendrix & Curtis Knight - Germany Single 1967|
Recording for the Experience's third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, began at the newly opened Record Plant Studios, with Chandler as producer and engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren. As the sessions progressed, Chandler became increasingly frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism and his demands for repeated takes. Hendrix also allowed numerous friends and guests to join them in the studio, which contributed to a chaotic and crowded environment in the control room and led Chandler to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix. Redding later recalled: "There were tons of people in the studio; you couldn't move. It was a party, not a session." Redding, who had formed his own band in mid-1968, Fat Mattress, found it increasingly difficult to fulfill his commitments with the Experience, so Hendrix played many of the bass parts on Electric Ladyland. The album's cover stated that it was "produced and directed by Jimi Hendrix".
|Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced US & UK Album|
Electric Ladyland was released on October 25, and by mid-November it had reached number one in the U.S., spending two weeks at the top spot. The double LP was Hendrix's most commercially successful release and his only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, spending 12 weeks on the chart. Electric Ladyland included Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's song, "All Along the Watchtower", which became Hendrix's highest-selling single and his only U.S. top 40 hit, peaking at number 20; the single reached number five in the UK. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", which was his first recorded song to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal, was added to the album. It was originally released as his fourth single in the UK in August 1967 and reached number 18 in the charts.
In 1989, Noe Goldwasser, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine, described Electric Ladyland as "Hendrix's masterpiece". According to author Michael Heatley, "most critics agree" that the album is "the fullest realization of Jimi's far-reaching ambitions." In 2004, author Peter Doggett commented: "For pure experimental genius, melodic flair, conceptual vision and instrumental brilliance, Electric Ladyland remains a prime contender for the status of rock's greatest album." Doggett described the LP as "a display of musical virtuosity never surpassed by any rock musician."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
♦ Jimi Hendrix – vocals, electric guitar
♦ Mitch Mitchell – drums, backing vocals
♦ Noel Redding – backing vocals, bass guitars (four- and eight-string)
01. Tax Free (The L.A. Forum 1969) 15:41
02. Interview (At the Beeb october 6, 1967) 00:52
03. Axis Sessions - Jazz Jimi Jazz 1968 (Sotheby's Auction Tape) 12:43
04. Keep On Groovin' (Blue Window Jam Sessions March 1969) 25:00
05. Mother, Mother, Georgia Blues (Blues Outtakes March 10 1969) 08:00
06. Hear My Train A Comin' (Blues Outtakes May 21 1969) 08:13
07. Power of Soul (Diggin' In the Dust, Unreleased Studio Recordings 1969) 05:56
01. Angel (In the Studio Reclamation Alternate Version w. Vocals) 04:19
02. Power of Soul (Take 01 to 16, 21st November 1969) 26:39
03. MC Intro (Konserthuset 1969-01-09, Sweden) 00:43
04. Jimi Intro (Konserthuset 1969-01-09, Sweden) 01:35
05. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Konserthuset 1969-01-09, Sweden) 13:56
06. Highway Of Desire - 7 Dollar In My Pocket (Studio Session 1970) 14:16
07. 1983... A Merman I Should Turn To Be (Studio Session 1970) 07:45
08. Welcome Home (The Complete PPX Studio) 03:31
09. Love, Love (The Complete PPX Studio) 05:15
Part 1: Jimi Hendrix
Part 2: Jimi Hendrix
Part 1: Jimi Hendrix
Part 2: Jimi Hendrix
Part 1: Jimi Hendrix
Part 2: Jimi Hendrix