(revised and updated May, 2021)
Jimi Hendrix died on 18 September 1970 aged 27. It is approaching 50 years since his death. It hardly seems that it can be that long ago.
I never got to see Jimi in person. A guitar has never been an instrument that I mastered even at a very amateur level. I have heard and followed many rock guitarists. None come even close to Jimi Hendrix.
Jimi Hendrix’s music was transcendent, moving me to another realm. Whether it was the guitar sounds or the lyrics, Jimi Hendrix’s music was something very special to me.
His lyrics, in the light of his death, now seem haunting:
Table of Contents
The Wind Cries Mary
Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past
And with his crutch, it’s old age, and it’s wisdom
It whispers no, this will be the last
And the wind cries Mary
Jimi Hendrix’s music gave me, pushed me, and even transported me to new experiences in my teen years. The song Are You Experienced led to some self questioning. Now, after all the years, I can say YES I am experienced. Experienced so many things.
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?
So, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have
The Jimi Hendrix Experience was composed of Mitch Mitchell beating the drums, Noel Redding strumming the bass, and Jimi. In October of 1966, they hurriedly laid down their first song, Hey Joe, after being together only a few weeks.
Are You Experienced, on the other hand, took almost five months to complete. It took sixteen spaced out sessions to complete.
Jimi Hendrix’s music was not only a launch pad for psychedelic and far out guitar playing. Mitch Mitchell’s drumming on Are You Experienced set a new trail for drummers.
Jimi said, “Sometimes when I come up here [to Harlem], people say, ‘He plays white rock for white people, what’s he doing up here?’” he told the New York Times in August 1969. “I want to show them that music is universal – that there is no white rock or black rock.” Are You Experienced appealed to all races of listeners. It climbed to number five on the Billboard 200 in the fall of 1967. It also found a place at number 10 on the Billboard R&B chart.
STONE FREE DO WHAT I PLEASE
STONE FREE TO RIDE THE BREEZE
STONE FREE I CAN’T STAY
I GOT TO GOT TO GOT TO GET AWAY
Teen years are consumed with trying to be free: free from parent’s demands; free from culture’s norms; free from whatever is felt to be holding one back. The Age of Aquarius was consumed with peace and freedom. Jimi Hendrix’s music, especially Stone Free, propelled hippies and ordinary teenagers to break loose from expectations. That freedom was really an integral part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
I, like many others, during the 60s, thought much of Jimi Hendrix’s music was either about or inspired by psychedelic drugs. No song gave us that impression more than Purple Haze.
Yet, the truth is Purple Haze had nothing to do with LSD or any other mind altering tab. In fact, Noel Redding and others around Jimi believe that he had not ever used LSD before Purple Haze was released.
In less than one year we experienced the death of Janis Joplin (October 4, 1970), Jim Morrison (July 3, 1971), and Jimi.
In memory of Jimi Hendrix, this post will be the first in a series that I will put out over next couple of weeks. The posts will cover:
- Jimi Hendrix Fashion
- Jimi Hendrix Toronto Trial
- Jimi’s Death
- Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon and the Animals Connection
- Jimi and Bob Dylan: A Cosmic Friendship
- Jimi and the Chitlin Circuit
- Buster Hendrix: Jimi’s Childhood
- Jimi Hendrix: The Man in the Music