When the greatest guitarists of all-time are ranked, often, the name at the top of the list is James Marshall Hendrix, more famously known as Jimi Hendrix. he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most renowned musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” Hendrix’s guitar stylings have influenced Carlos Santana, Ernie Isley, Eric Clapton, Eddie Hazel, George Clinton, and Prince.
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington and he began playing guitar at the age of 15. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the Chitlin’ Circuit. He earned a reputation as phenom on the guitar and he began playing with Isley Brothers’ and then with Little Richard. As a sideman backing the Isley Brothers and Little Richard, Hendrix began mastering the elements of rock n roll and blues that would come to define his own musical motif.
Hendrix set sail for Great Britain in 1966 where he would create the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They write and produce classics such as “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”, and “The Wind Cries Mary”. He made an iconic appearance the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 that would solidify him as the biggest superstar in music at the time. Then in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached the number one spot on the U.S album charts. The LP would be Hendrix’s most commercially successful album during his lifetime. In 1969 he headlined the Woodstock Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.
After these legendary performances, the music world would be rocked by the news of Hendrix’s passing on September 18. 1970, at the age of 27. His death was ruled an accident by barbiturate-related asphyxia.
Posthumously, Jimi Hendrix remains a legendary figure in the realm of music. He is the standard of what lead guitarists are measured by. In his brief but brilliant career, Hendrix transformed from being a sideman into one of the most influential musicians in recorded music history.