A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

by zteve

This is my tribute to Jimi Hendrix who I regard as one of the finest ever guitar players and a pioneer of modern popular music.

Up from the Skies

For many rock fans and musicians Jimi Hendrix set the pop music world alight with his searing lead guitar playing during the psychedelic era of the late ‘60s.   Always imaginative and always daring he broke new ground with his music producing new sounds and reinventing the way the electric guitar was played as a musical instrument

His music was new and different to the Pop and Rock music world and his flamboyant psychedelic way of dressing and Afro-hairstyle gave him the appearance of someone from another world.  Indeed in many of his songs such as “Up from the skies” and “Third Stone from the sun” he takes the persona of an alien observer of humanity from another planet.

Hendrix was influenced by Albert King and other giants of the blues though he also drew from jazz, soul and folk music.  He had spent many of his earlier years touring with Little Richard, The Isley Brothers and other more obscure bands.

Jimi Hendrix Poster

He used a right-handed guitar upside down that was strung for left-hand playing.
Jimi Hendrix Studio

His own unique style

Maybe not being able to read or write music freed him from conventions to develop his own unique style, allowing, or even forcing him to develop his guitar playing in the way he did.  There was little in the way Hendrix played the guitar that was conventional.  He could play it behind his back; he could play it with his teeth!

 

As can be seen from the poster above his guitar technique was different to most other guitarists.  He used a right-handed guitar upside down that was strung for left-hand playing.  This changed the sound that was produced when the strings were played.  He was also innovative in his use of the  of tremolo bar and wah-wah pedal and experimented with controlling electronic feedback to create an exciting new sounds and  used speakers in different ways  creating a boldly progressive new sound and style that was revolutionary to the day.

Hit Singles

n 1966, Hendrix had signed up with a new manager, Chas Chandler, former bass player with the Animals, moved to London.  There he joined up with bass player Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience and further develop his playing and performing style.

 

From then on his rise to fame was meteoric.  If his recorded music sound was different and exciting, then his live performances were electric and exhilarating.   His music his Afro-hairstyle, flamboyant and colourful way of dressing and the way he played and moved provocatively on stage presented him as someone from another world.  No one had ever seen or heard anything like him before.

The band’s first single, ‘Hey Joe,’ reached No. 6 in the UK charts in 1967 and was followed by ‘Purple Haze,’ which reached No. 3.   Other singles he released included ‘The Wind Cries Mary.’ ‘Burning of the Midnight lamp,’ All Along the Watchtower,’ and ‘Voodoo Chile.’

The First Three Albums

Their first studio album, Are You Experienced, was released in the UK without the first three hits and later in the USA and Canada with them replacing “Red House", "Remember" and "Can You See Me".  This went on to become a double platinum album and an all time rock classic.

 

Their second album Axis: Bold as Love, was released in the UK in 1967 reaching No 5 in the UK Charts and No. 3 in the USA.  Most of the songs were created using studio techniques and only ‘Spanish Castle Magic,’ and ‘Little Wing,’ were regularly performed live on stage.

 

The band’s third album was Electric Ladyland, released by Reprise Records in October, 1968.  This album saw Hendrix working together with other musicians such as Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Dave Mason from the British band, Traffic.  Other artists included Al Kooper, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Freddie Smith, Mike Finnegan and Larry Faucette.

The Monterey International Pop Festival 1967

In the UK, The Jimi Hendrix Experience enjoyed enormous success but it was not until 1967 when he returned to the USA to play the Monterey International Pop Festival that he hit the big time in America and the rest of the world.   This was his first major American performance and he was lined up with British band, The Who also making their first major American performance.  Janis Joplin made her first public performance and Otis Redding performed for the first time to a predominantly white audience.

 

This was definitely the place to be for any aspiring rock artist wanting to make their name in the pop music world.  Many of the top Pop and Rock bands and artists from the USA, Britain and around the world were performing and the roll call included:-

 

  • Eric Burdon and The Animals,  
  • Simon and Garfunkel,
  • Canned Heat,  
  • Janis Joplin,
  • Country Joe and the Fish,
  • Steve Miller Band,
  • The Byrds,
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Otis Redding
  • Ravi Shankar
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • The Who   
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • The Grateful Dead
  • Scott McKenzie
  • The Mamas & the Papas

 

Significant absences from the UK were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, though Brian Jones was present at the festival.

 

Pete Townsend of The Who did not want to follow The Jimi Hendrix Experience and in turn Hendrix did not want to follow The Who.  Both bands had planned to climax their performance by smashing their guitars and equipment on stage.  The matter was decided by a toss of a coin and The Who produced a spectacular performance climaxed with smashing up their guitars as they had planned. 

 

Hendrix followed with a spectacular explosive climax to his performance.  During his last number Wild Thing,’ he not only violently destroyed  his equipment, similar to Townsend and  The Who, but topped them by sacrificially setting fire to his guitar before smashing it to pieces to the delight of a frenzied audience.  This performance rocketed The Jimi Hendrix Experience to American and global fame

Hendrix Live at Monterey and Woodstock

Jimi Hendrix: Live at Monterey
$13.79  $11.54
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock
$18.98  $8.97

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair , August 1969

Hendrix, along with Mitchell, formed new musical alliances with Billy Cox, Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan to create the Gypsy Sun and Rainbows who performed together at Woodstock.  His performance climaxed with a spectacular rendering of The Star-spangled banner,  to the delight and appreciation of the audience. 

 

After Woodstock Hendrix, Cox and Electric Flag drummer, Buddy Miles, were to perform together as the Band of Gypsys.  From their performances came the album’s Band of Gypsys, and the posthumous Live at the Filimore East, in 1999.’  Many other of his studio and live works have been released as bootlegs or compilations and are still widely sold today.  

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock poster

Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock

1968 - The ‘Experience.’ changes

1968 - The ‘Experience.’ changes

The stresses of touring and studio work through out 1968 saw tensions arising between Hendrix and Redding resulting in the band splitting, though Hendrix and Mitchell continued to work together afterwards.

September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix Dies

Mitch Mitchell again joined up with Hendrix and along with bass player, Billy Cox  reformed the Jimi Hendrix Experience working in the studio on a new album called “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.”   Sadly on September 18, 1970, Hendrix passed away before the album could be completed but it was later release in 1997. 

 

 Unfortunately when he was alive his notorious ‘Wild Man” image and showmanship on stage often overshadowed his skill and musicianship. Today he is recognised by many leading rock guitarists and musicians as an innovator and trail-blazer in his interpretation of how the guitar can be played and many regard him as one of the best guitarists ever.

Biographies

Becoming Jimi Hendrix: From Southern Crossroads to Psychedelic London, the Untold Story of a ...

Becoming Jimi Hendrix traces “Jimmy’s” early musical roots, from a harrowing, hand-to-mouth upbringing in a poverty-stricken, broken Seattle home to his early discovery of the ...

Da Capo Press
$17.95  $4.32
Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix

Now in paperback, the national bestselling biography of American musical icon Jimi Hendrix It has been more than thirty-five years since Jimi Hendrix died, but his music and ...

Hyperion
$17.00  $3.35
Are You Experienced?

Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation

Great Hendrix Performances on DVD!

Check out the amazing guitar playing of the legendary Jimi Hendrix!
Jimi Hendrix (Deluxe Edition)

The long-awaited Deluxe Edition of the 1973 theatrical documentary Jimi Hendrix is loaded with extras and completely remastered and remixed to provide exceptional sound and ...

$14.99  $6.47

View on Amazon

Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight

Experience Hendrix has also expanded this definitive presentation of Jimi s historic performance before 600,000 at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970. Exquisitely ...

$13.98  $8.74

View on Amazon

Jimi Hendrix-Band of Gypsys: Live at the Fillmore East

Jimi Hendrix s legendary performances with the Band Of Gypsys remain one of his most impressive achievements. Jimi Hendrix: Band Of Gypsys Live At The Fillmore East features ...

$13.98  $8.08

View on Amazon

Updated: 02/08/2012, zteve
 
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zteve on 12/21/2013

Hi Villy the Bid All a long the Watchtower is one of my favorite Hendrix numbers and I also love Sairway to heaven. Thanks for commenting!

Villy the Bid on 12/20/2013

Jimi's :All Along The Watchtower" What a great song. Althout very much like the progression on Jimi Page's Stareway to heven. I like watchtower better.

zteve on 07/03/2012

Thanks Michael and Waterlily your comments are greatly appreciated!

Waterlily on 07/03/2012

Wonderful tribute:)

Michael on 07/02/2012

great tribute to the greatest.

zteve on 03/23/2012

Thank you, very much appreciated!

terrilorah on 03/23/2012

Welcome to Wizzley and thanks for a great tribute to a legend!

zteve on 09/13/2011

Thanks and thanks for commenting!

fanfreluche on 09/13/2011

Welcome to Wizzley by the way :) Nice seeing you here. Great tribute page to Hendrix.

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