Jimi Hendrix, Musician
Jimi Hendrix, Musician

When did he live?

James Marshall Hendrix was born on November 27th, 1942. He died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1970.

Why is he famous?

Many say Jimi Hendrix was the most creative guitar player of all time.

Songs such as ‘Hey Joe’, ‘All Along the Watchtower’, ‘Foxy Lady’, and ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ made him an international rock star.

Hendrix’s live shows were also major performances: his version of the American national anthem (‘The Star-Spangled Banner’) at the Woodstock Festival was one of his most famous, whilst setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Festival – and the iconic photo of the moment – is also widely known.

Of mixed blood, but primarily African-American, Jimi Hendrix was one of the first black people to become a major success in the predominantly white scene of rock.

Jimi Hendrix on Stage
Jimi Hendrix on Stage

What is his mark on history?

Hendrix still has a big following of fans, particularly of people who like the guitar. His name remains one of the most famous in music (perhaps more famous than any of his songs).

The effects that Hendrix brought to his guitar playing – riffs using wah-wah pedals; deliberately using fuzz and distortion – have become common tools to modern day guitarists.

Although African-Americans remain the minority in rock music, Hendrix did break this barrier.

Jimi Hendrix, photographed by David Montgomery
Jimi Hendrix, photographed by David Montgomery

Notes

Hendrix taught himself how to play the guitar, and could not read music.

Despite being an American musical hero, Hendrix first found fame in the UK.

Hendrix is part of ‘The 27 Club’, the name given to the array of famous musicians who have died aged 27.