45 Years Ago: Jimi Hendrix Dies
Jimi Hendrix, perhaps the most innovative guitarist to ever visit our planet, died on Sept. 18, 1970, leaving behind an unimaginable legacy and body of work considering his short time with us.
Born John Allen Hendrix on Nov. 24, 1942, the man we came to know as Jimi learned his way around the guitar at a young age. First shown the glories of the six-string by his father (who renamed him James Marshall Hendrix), he very quickly realized that he had found his calling. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Hendrix became an in-demand touring and studio player, working with established acts like Isley Brothers and Little Richard.
In 1966, Animals bassist Chas Chandler caught a Hendrix performance in New York City and convinced him to head over the England. In relatively short order, the guitarist recorded a version of the folk classic “Hey Joe,” and history began to make itself made. However, After three incredible years and three amazing albums, the Jimi Hendrix Experience started to fall apart as Hendrix wanted to expand his musical horizons with other groups.
Alas, those options were never fully explored. Early on the morning of Sept. 18, 1970, his lifeless body was found by his girlfriend. His death was said to have been caused by taking too many sleeping pills, which caused him to choke on his own vomit and suffocate to death. It was a tragic and sad ending to such an incredible musical force, and Hendrix became one of an uncommonly high number of rock legends to die at the young age of 27.
When it comes to guitarists, there was no one like Hendrix before, and certainly only imitators since. Whether his style is your cup of tea or not, there is no denying his innovations and prowess on the guitar. Time has done nothing to diminish his legacy. In fact, his influence has only grown over the years. All these years later and we still can’t help but feel cheated out of what could have been.
See Jimi Hendrix and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’60s
This Day in Rock History: September 18