*Includes pictures of Hendrix and important people and places in his life.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
"They're claiming that [the grunge bands] finally put Seattle on the map, but, like, what map? ...I mean, we had Jimi Hendrix. Heck, what more do we want?" - Kurt Cobain
It is rare in the world of music for a general consensus to form over who was the best at anything. Many would call The Beatles the greatest rock band, but it's easy to find strongly opinionated dissenters. However, when it came to playing a guitar and laying the soundtrack for the psychedelic era, just about everyone agrees there was Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) and then there was everyone else. Anyone arguing otherwise either never heard his music or saw him perform.
In fact, Jimi Hendrix is one of the few musicians known primarily for his sound and what he could do with a guitar than for his discography. A part of that is due to his untimely death and entry into the 27 Club, but it is also due to the fact that he was so revolutionary with the use of an electric guitar and so skilled at playing it that the effects have largely not been duplicated since. It was heavy, loud, and completely raw, and yet he was a pioneer in genres as varied as blues and heavy metal. As Pete Townshend famously put it, "With Jimi, I didn't have any envy. I never had any sense that I could ever come close."
Ironically, Jimi would later insist that the music that came to him sounded so much better in his head than he was capable of playing that sometimes he didn't even bother grabbing his guitar to try to sound it out. While rock fans can only imagine what it must have sounded like if Jimi didn't feel qualified to play it, they're more than happy with what he did play. When The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, their award noted that Hendrix "expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll."
Jimi would have been memorable simply on the basis of being rock's greatest guitarist, but he also epitomized the counterculture and psychedelic nature of the times, adding a visual flare to his performances that provided a picture with the audio. Jimi wore outfits that defined the era, and whether he was somehow managing to play his guitar with one hand or lighting it on fire, Pete Townshend of The Who noted that it somehow seemed to sober up even those who were tripping on LSD in the crowd.
Unfortunately, drugs were at the center of Hendrix's life, music, and death. In the early morning hours of September 18, 1970, Hendrix died of an accidental overdose, just two weeks before Janis Joplin would die of an overdose at the same age. Like other members of the 27 Club, including Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain, Hendrix has become something of a cult figure, and his popularity remains much higher in death than in life. Legends of Music: The Life and Legacy of Jimi Hendrix covers the great guitarist's life and career in detail, both in and out of the studio, while also discussing his death and analyzing his lasting legacy. Along with a suggested playlist of Hendrix's songs and pictures of important people, places, and events in his life, you will learn about Jimi like you never have before, in no time at all.