Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970)
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He played his guitar upside-down because he was left-handed.
Jimi died in 1970 after he choked on his own vomit. He had taken 9 pills of the barbiturate vesperax.
He was entirely self-taught on guitar. He could not read music, instead he communicated his musical visions through colors: "Some feelings make you think of different colors, jealousy is purple; I'm purple with rage or purple with anger, and green with envy..." (thanks, Jayson - Atlanta, GA)
His father Al controlled Jimi's estate and even ran a museum dedicated to Jimi out of his home in Seattle. When he died in 2002, he left the estate to his daughter Janie, who he adopted in 1966. His son (and Jimi's brother) Leon, has fought for control of the estate, but has been unsuccessful. Leon is also a musician, but he never did very well and was plagued by a drug problem.
The cover of Electric Ladyland featured 19 naked women pulled from English pubs. Hendrix did not like the cover because he felt it detracted from the music. In the US, the cover was replaced by some psychedelic artwork.
His second manager, Michael Jeffrey, had Hendrix kidnapped once for 2 days by "New York Mobsters" and then "rescued" him to try to bolster his role as manager... not a very well known story but documented several times by Hendrix himself. (thanks, James - Los Angeles, IN)
At the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he came on after The Who. Pete Townshend smashed his guitar and threw it into the audience. Hendrix set his on fire.
He played what was known as the "Chitlin Circuit" from 1963-1966, which was a tour with black artists playing to mostly black audiences. This is where Hendrix learned tricks like playing the guitar with his teeth and playing behind his head (something he picked up from T-Bone Walker). (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
From 1966-1970, he played over 600 shows, many of them festivals that he headlined.
He toured with The Monkees in 1967 because he needed the exposure in America. It was a disaster, as the young girls who came to see The Monkees shouted him down. At his 7th show opening for The Monkees, he flipped off the crowd and left the tour.
The Experience Music Project museum in Seattle has dedicated more space to Hendrix than any other artist. The museum was founded by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, who is a huge Hendrix fan.
He enlisted in the United States Paratrooper Division before the Vietnam War got into full swing. He was medically discharged after an accident during his training.
A Swedish man named James Sundquist claims to be Hendrix' illegitimate son. This claim was upheld by a Swedish court in 1975.
Bassist Noel Redding still claims that he never made any money from his time playing with Hendrix. He only played on Hendrix' first three albums.
His mother was a Cherokee Indian.
In 2002, his body was moved to Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Renton, Washington, where he is buried under a 30-foot granite dome.
He was born John Allen Hendrix. When his father, Al Hendrix, returned from the Army, he renamed him James Marshall Hendrix.
The first guitarist he was aware of was Muddy Waters: "I heard one of his old records when I was a little boy and it scared me to death because I heard all these sounds," explained Hendrix.
Playing with The Rocking Kings, he played his first gig at a National Guard Armory. They earned 35 cents each. (thanks, Jayson - Atlanta, GA, for above 3)
Just prior to the release of "Purple Haze," he performed at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He was bottom of the bill behind Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch and The Nashville Teens. The theater was only one third full and so the first audience were invited back for the second show and asked to sit at the front to make it appear fuller. (thanks, patti - Tewkesbury, England)
The first instrument Jimi learned to play was a one-string Ukulele his father bought for him after Jimi showed enthusiasm for pretending to play a broom. (thanks, dude - charlottesville, VA)
He played backup guitar for Ike and Tina Turner, Little Richard, King Curtis, The Isley Brothers, and Wilson Pickett. He formed his first band - Jimmy James and the Blue Flames - in 1965. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
B.B. King: "When you heard Jimi Hendrix, you knew it was Jimi Hendrix. He introduced himself with his instrument. His attack to a guitar man, was, oh, something else! You think of one of the great American ball players, or one of the great fighters of the world, you know, that's the way he would attack any note on his guitar." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Before forming Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake were considering Mitch Mitchell as their drummer, and with the suggestion of Mitchell adding Jimi Hendrix to their lineup. But they later settled on drummer Carl Palmer to form E.L.P. Shortly afterwards, British tabloids began publishing rumors that Hendrix, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer had formed to become H.E.L.P. But before the band was able to collaborate with Hendrix, he had passed away. (thanks, Randy - Colerain Twp., OH)
Mitch Mitchell, who was Hendrix' drummer from 1966 until Jimi's death, was found dead on November 12, 2008, about a week after wrapping up the "Experience Hendrix" tour. Mitchell also played with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Keith Richards. He was the last surviving member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
As the headliner of the Woodstock festival, Hendrix received $125,000 - the highest fee of any performer. He also played to the smallest crowd, as he didn't go on until the 4th day of the 3-day festival, which ran long.
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