Jimi Hendrix (1942 - 1970)

Jimi Hendrix
1942 - 1970
updated September 16, 2019
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington United States of America. He died on September 18, 1970 in London, England United Kingdom at age 27.

OCTOBER 15, 1970 3:10PM ET
LONDON — Jimi Hendrix is dead at age 27.
The exact nature of the death is still vague, and a coroner’s inquest is to be held in London September 30th. Police, however, say it was a drug overdose. They say he took nine sleeping pills and died of suffocation through vomit.
According to Eric Burdon [The Animals, War], Hendrix left behind for the girlfriend in whose apartment he died what Burdon called a “suicide note” which was a poem several pages in length. The poem is now in the possession of Burdon, the last musician with whom Hendrix played before he died.
Said Burdon: “The poem just says the things Hendrix has always been saying, but to which nobody ever listened. It was a note of goodbye and a note of hello. I don’t think Jimi committed suicide in the conventional way. He just decided to exit when he wanted to.”
“I’ve been going through a whole stack of papers, poems and songs that Jimi had written, and I could show you 20 of them that could be interpreted as a suicide note,” he continued. He went off stage and came back, playing the background to ‘Tobacco Road.'” That song was his last. Hendrix had been for some time attempting to become more independent in his business affairs. He saw Electric Lady as a step toward that goal. Burdon says that a week before Hendrix died, Jimi told him he was going to get new management.
“The few good things Jimi got, he really deserved. Even more things, as far as I’m concerned. When I left the Band of Gypsys, I know Jimi was extremely unhappy,”
“Both he and I felt that the three-way function of manager – artist – agent was quite likely to fall apart, because the times are different than they once were in show business. People outside the circle mistook this for discontent, but it wasn’t, because Jimi was intelligent and bright enough. If he wanted to split, he would have split.
“He realized that the only way he could get what he wanted, helping the Panthers, and setting up an anti-ghetto project in Harlem, was to die and hope that someone else would take care of the business for him using the things that he left behind, his music and his last poem, to make the money,” stated Burdon.
Jimi’s affairs were in a state of confusion at the time. At one point his road manager, Jerry Stickles, said that the day Hendrix died, he (Stickles) had called Dick Katz, his European agent, to tell him that Jimi wanted to do another European tour and a British tour as soon as possible. Katz lined up a German tour and some British dates that day before he heard the news, according to Stickles.
At another point, however, Stickles said that at Jimi’s request he made airline reservations to return to the States September 21st, because Jimi wanted to finish up some recording for a new album by the Experience. (All that needed to be done on that album was the mastering, which Hendrix was going to do himself at Electric Lady.)
None of Jimi’s friends or associates except Burdon, at first, would discuss the matter, and in the absence of a complete report, the London press chose to carry instead pure sensationalism. One Sunday paper had an “exclusive story” by a groupie which told of five-in-a-bed orgies with Hendrix.
In America, the first report – spread across the country primarily by FM radio within hours after his death – was that Hendrix had died of a heroin overdose. American newspapers generally carried the story of his death on the front page Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
September 26th, Radio Geronimo in England played unreleased Hendrix material the entire evening, including a tape of Jimi with Buddy Miles and the Last Poets, and another unreleased live album.
The funeral was to have been Monday, September 28th, in Jimi’s hometown of Seattle, Washington.
James Marshall Hendrix was born November 27th, 1945. On the day of his death, his father, James, a landscape architect, talked about his son’s childhood. The Hendrix family lives in a simple house with lawn and garden in the better part of Seattle’s black neighborhood, near Lake Washington. The mantel is covered with pictures, guitar straps, magazine clips and other evidence of Jimi’s illustrious career. Mr. Hendrix has remarried, and has two daughters by that second marriage. He also has a 22-year-old son, Leon, by the first marriage.
The last time the family saw Jimi was on July 26th, the day after Leon began doing time for grand larcency. As always when he was in Seattle, Jimi stayed at the Hendrix house that weekend.
Mr. Hendrix recalled that Jimi first became interested in music when he was 10 years old. His father remembers going into Jimi’s room one night in the dark and tripping over a broom. He asked Jimi why the broom was there, since he obviously wasn’t using it to clean up his room.
“That’s my guitar, Dad,” Jimi had answered. “I’m learning how to play it.”
When he was 11, his father bought him a cheap acoustic guitar, and at 12, Jimi got his first electric guitar. He learned quickly, and was playing in bands at 13. When he was 14, that first electric guitar (inscribed “Jimmy”) was stolen, and he was unable to replace it until his sophomore year at Garfield High.
Members of Jimi’s bands were quite surprised when he became a star, because he seemed the least likely person in any of his groups to make it. He was then only an average musician, and gave no indication of the almost compulsive creativity that he showed later. He was also known for being very shy and reserved. He displayed no stage presence at all.
Jimi quit Garfield High in the middle of his senior year and went to work as a handyman for his father, who was then doing mostly gardening and lawn jobs. One day as they were working, Jimi told his father that he felt the work was a drag, and that he’d just decided to join the Army instead. This was in 1963.
He left Seattle within a few days and joined the 101st Airborne Division, stationed in the South. His father remembers going into Jimi’s room right after he left, seeing the guitar, and expressing surprise that Jimi hadn’t taken it with him. Sure enough, a few days later he got a call from Jimi, who said the Army was driving him mad and he needed his guitar “right away.”
Except for a photo he received in the mail, that was the last time Mr. Hendrix heard from his son until Jimi reached England in 1966. Using the name Jimmy James, he played for six months with a New York group called the Blue Flames. At various times, he backed Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, the Isley Brothers, and Wilson Pickett.
“I got tired of feeding back ‘In the Midnight Hour,'” he told an interviewer in 1968. “I was a backing musician playing guitar.”
He also played with a group called Curtis Knight and the Squires, and, after he became a star in 1967, Capitol Records embarrassed him by releasing an album called Got That Feeling; Jimi Hendrix Plays, Curtis Knight Sings, an album that was poorly recorded and of no historical value. It revealed only traces of the Hendrix artistry. Hendrix said: “The Curtis Knight album was from bits of tape they used from a jam session, bits of tape, tiny little confetti bits of tapes … it was done. Capitol never told us they were going to release that crap. That’s the real drag about it. It shows exactly how some people in America are still not where it’s at, regardless. You don’t have no friend scenes, sometimes makes you wonder.
A few days later, James Hendrix, Sr., received a phone call at about 4 a.m.
“It’s me, Jimi. I’m in England, Dad,” said the voice at the other end of the line. “I met some people and they’re going to make me a big star. We changed my name to J-i-m-i.”
Surprised, his father asked why he’d changed his name, and Jimi replied that it was “just to be different.” Mr. Hendrix remembers telling Jimi that if he was really calling from London, the call was going to be very expensive. They both started crying over the phone. “We were both so excited I forgot to even tell him I’d remarried,” his father says.
Once in England, Hendrix formed a new band. Noel Redding, who had come to audition as guitarist in the Animals, met Hendrix through Chandler. “Can you play bass?” was the first thing Jimi asked Redding. He never had before, but he immediately became bassist, and sometimes-guitarist, with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell, another Englishman, was picked as drummer.
Six weeks after he left New York, four days after forming his trio, Hendrix opened at the Olympia in Paris, on the bill with French pop star Johnny Halliday.
They took off on a tour of Europe. Eight days after the Beach Boys broke an attendance record by playing to 7,000 in two shows at the Tivoli in Stockholm, the Experience drew 14,500 for two shows.
Now it was time to return to America. With several hit singles and a successful album in Europe behind him, Hendrix made his U.S. debut in 1967 at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Few in the audience knew that, until nine months ago, Hendrix had lived his whole life in this country. Few knew anything about him except that this “freaky black English bluesman” was making his “American debut.”
Lou Adler, with John Phillips, co-producer of the festival, said he heard of Hendrix from Paul McCartney – “He told me about some guy in England playing guitar with his teeth.” Adler decided on Hendrix and the Who as the “new” acts to be introduced to the Monterey audience.
In the liner notes to the live recording of Jimi’s performance (ironically, it was the last Hendrix recording to be released before his death), Pete Johnson of Warner Brothers writes what happened:
“Their appearance at the festival was magical; the way they looked, the way they performed and the way they sounded were light years away from anything anyone had seen before. The Jimi Hendrix Experience owned the future, and the audience knew it in an instant.”
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Jimi Hendrix Biography

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Most Commonly Known Name

Jimi Hendrix

First name

Jimi

Middle name

Unknown.

Last Name(s)

Nickname(s) or aliases

James Marshall Hendrix

Gender

Male

Birth

Jimi Hendrix was born on in Seattle, King County, Washington United States of America

Death

Jimi Hendrix died on in London, England United Kingdom

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Jimi.

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Nationality & Locations Lived

Unknown.

Religion

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Last Known Residence

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Personal Life & Organizations

Celebrity, Famous, Musician

Military Service

He had been discharged from the military after 14 months when he suffered a back injury in a parachute jump, and he’d spent the next couple of years criss-crossing the United States, playing with more than 40 rhythm and blues groups.

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And yet another fallen star was at Monterey – Brian Jones, who attended the festival with Nico and spent most of his time as a spectator, seated in the press section. Adler recalled: “Brian was over here for his own pleasure, but he went up on stage and introduced one of the English acts – either Jimi or the Who.” Hendrix was on the same bill as the Who and the Mamas and the Papas. His next performance would be at the Hollywood Bowl with the Mamas and the Papas.
The stories that came out about Hendrix after Monterey were enough to shoot him straight to the top, just like in Europe. “Purple Haze” became a hit single, Are You Experienced? a hit album. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, electric hair and all, was taking America by storm.
But if the audience knew just where Jimi Hendrix was at, the same can’t be said of the music business brains. In one of those showbiz anomalies, the Experience took off on a tour, second billed to the Monkees, playing to the kiddies. When a promoter complained (under pressure from the Daughters of the American Revolution) that their stage act was “too sexy,” the Experience refused to modify it, instead dropping out of that tour and packing houses on one of their own.
Monterey was where Jimi introduced his guitar-burning bit, and by now he was finding it necessary to explain: “At the Monterey Festival, I decided to destroy my guitar at the end of the song.
The British pop magazine Disc voted him Musician of the Year for 1967, as did the pop newspaper Melody Maker. In 1968 – by which time each of his first three albums were gold – he was named Performer of the Year by Rolling Stone.
When Jimi made his triumphant return to Seattle early in 1968, he received a key to the city and an honorary diploma from Garfield High. His father was floored when he saw Jimi in purple velvet cape and rainbow shirt. Not only did the elder Hendrix not realize how big a star Jimi had become, but he remembered his son as a conservative dresser with a subdued, reserved personality.
But if Hendrix was a brash dresser, if his stage act was pure mayhem, he also had a distinct ambivalence toward being a rock and roll star. Onstage, he was what every mother feared when she expressed doubts about rock and roll’s effect on her daughter. Offstage, he remained the same quiet, boyish, seemingly vulnerable Jimi Hendrix as always.

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1942 - 1970 World Events

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In 1942, in the year that Jimi Hendrix was born, from January 7th through April 9th, the Battle of Bataan was fought in the Philippines. At the end of the battle, the U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered and a three-year occupation of the Philippines by Japan began. Between 60,000 and 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered and were marched around 60 to 69 miles - most were beaten, abused, or killed. Named the Bataan Death March, it was later declared to be a war crime.

In 1951, at the age of only 9 years old, Jimi was alive when on February 27th, the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution (which limited the number of terms a president may serve to two) was ratified by 36 states, making it a part of the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment was both a reaction to the 4 term Roosevelt presidency and also the recognition of a long-standing tradition in American politics.

In 1956, at the age of merely 14 years old, Jimi was alive when on May 20th, the U.S. tested the first hydrogen bomb dropped from a plane over Bikini Atoll. Previously, hydrogen bombs had only been tested on the ground. The Atomic Age moved forward.

In 1960, by the time he was 18 years old, on May 1st, an American CIA U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the Soviet Union. Powers ejected and survived but was captured. The U.S. claimed that the U-2 was a "weather plane" but Powers was convicted in the Soviet Union of espionage. He was released in 1962 after 1 year, 9 months and 10 days in prison.

In 1970, in the year of Jimi Hendrix's passing, on April 10th, Paul McCartney announced that he was leaving the Beatles. (John Lennon had previously told the band that he was leaving but hadn't publicly announced it.) By the end of the year, each Beatle had his own album.

Other Biographies

Other Hendrixes

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around 1922 - around 2000
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1871 - 1963
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around 1912 - Unknown
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Other Bios

Unknown - Unknown
around 1773 - Unknown
Dec 1, 1978 - Unknown
Jul 23, 1936 - Unknown
Feb 7, 1930 - Oct 26, 2012
Aug 12, 1980 - Aug 2, 2006
Mar 23, 1918 - Nov 24, 2000
around Jun 4, 1974 - Unknown
Aug 16, 1954 - Apr 6, 2005
1929 - 1989
Unknown - Unknown
Dec 8, 1966 - Aug 29, 2011
Jan 26, 1946 - Jun 6, 2009
around Aug 30, 1981 - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
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Jul 10, 1971 - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
around Nov 29, 1896 - around Jun 12, 1947
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