Jimi Hendrix, a superstar of psychedelic rock and roll, and an icon in millions of eyes was my first taste of real rock and roll. I first heard the psychedelic sounds of Voodoo Child when I was six years old. I remember it clearly. I was riding in my cousins old jeep with no doors. He had just installed a new CD player and popped in a CD by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he flipped a couple switches and out came Voodoo Child blasting thru his speakers. The sound was soothing and although I couldn’t comprehend what the song was about I fell in love with it. It was my first time listening to that kind of music, and it opened me up to all the greats of that time and became what my music choice of today is.
James Marshall Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington. He was born into a family of four his two sister’s Kathy and Pamela, and his two brother’s Leon and Joseph. Jimi’s father was employed in the U.S. Army during World War Two and was shortly discharged after. Hendrix’s parents were very poor after the Second World War and split the children up among their various relatives. Jimi went to live in Vancouver, British Columbia with his grandparents, while his other brothers and sisters were sent to Dallas, Texas to live with aunts’ and uncle’s. Jimi was eventually taken back into custody by his father after his parents divorced at age nine. They moved back to Seattle where Jimi would begin on his legendary guitar playing.
At age 15, he bought his first guitar for $5 from an acquaintance of his father’s. Hendrix could not afford records so he learned to play by watching others, taking tips from various musicians, listening to records, and drifting from club to club. When he was 17, his father, Al Hendrix bought him a right-handed electric guitar, but without an amplifier. The new guitar replaced the broomstick and ukelele that Hendrix was often found stringing in imitation to the guitar. The same year the only F he had received in school was in music class. Jimi did not perform well in that environment but ironically took his music classes from a local blues artist, Leo Davis, who taught Hendrix the fundamentals of guitar playing. Hendrix had no trouble graduating from middle school, but did not graduate from Garfield High School, he was kicked out. He was awarded an honorary diploma in 1990, and the library is in his name. Although the Principal will argue that he was expelled for poor grades and disciplinary issues, Jimi later stated in an interview that it was because he was caught holding hands with a white girl.
Hendrix drew most of his work from blues/R&B/rock & roll. He was very fond of singer and artist Elvis Presley whom he saw perform in 1957. He also drew on singers such as Bob Dylan, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry. His early impressions of the blues came from his father’s records of B.B. King and Muddy Waters. He drifted from blues clubs to rock and roll clubs in Seattle picking up new rhythm’s and tricks to...