Jimi by the name of Charles “Chas”

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Jimi Hendrix, the greatest guitarist in rock history,
revolutionized the sound of rock. In 1967, the Jimi Hendrix
Experience rocked the nation with their first album, Are You
Experienced?. Hendrix’s life was cut short by the tragedy of drugs in
1970, when he was only twenty seven years old. In these three years
the sound of rock changed greatly, and Hendrix’s guitar playing was a
major influence.

Jimi was born in Seattle, Washington on November 27, 1942.
As a young boy, whenever the chance came, Jimi would try to play
along with his R & B records. However, music was not his life long
dream. At first, the army was. In the late 1950’s, Hendrix enlisted in
the 101st Airborne Division. After sustaining a back injury during a
jump, he received a medical discharge. After his army career came to
an abrupt end, he decided to go into the music field. By this time he
had become an accomplished guitarist, and was soon to become
known as the greatest guitarist ever (Stambler, pg. 290).

However, he did not start out at the top. Jimi started out
playing as part of the back-up for small time R ; B groups. It did not
take long before his work was in demand with some of the best
known artists in the field, such as B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner,
Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, Littler Richard, Wilson Pickett, and
King Curtis (Clifford, pg. 181). Using the name Jimmy James, he
toured with a bunch of R ; B shows, including six months as a
member of James Brown’s Famous Flames (Stambler, pg. 290).

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At the Cafe Wha! in New York, in 1966, Hendrix decided to
try singing. Jimi lucked out when a man by the name of Charles
“Chas” Chandler from Eric Burdon’s Animals heard him at the club
and thought he was sensational. When Chas heard him again later
that year, he talked Jimi into moving to England where he would
really get the chance to start his career (Stambler, pg. 290).

Along with Chas, Hendrix auditioned some musicians to
complete the new Hendrix group. They choose Mitch Mitchell, a
fantastic drummer, and Noel Redding, one of England’s best guitar
and bass players (Stambler, pg. 290).

In 1966, at the Olympia in Paris, the Experience debuted. One
year later, the Experience was breaking attendance records right and
left at European clubs. When the Monkees toured England in 1967,
they heard Jimi and liked him. The Monkees asked Hendrix to join
them on their tour through the U.S., and Jimi was on his way home
(Stambler, pg. 290).

“Jimi’s erotic stage actions, suggestive lyrics, and guitar-
smashing antics…” did not go over well with the Monkees’ fans or
many adults. Being criticized over and over again forced the
Experience to be dropped from the tour (Stambler, pg. 290).

This however did not get Hendrix down. By the end of the
year, the group was invited to the Monterey Pop Festival. Jimi won a
standing ovation for the “…nerve-shattering sounds from the group’s
nine amplifiers and eighteen speakers, topped by Jimi dousing his
guitar with lighter fluid and burning it…” (Stambler, pg. 291).

Hendrix became popular overnight, and his shows became
standing room only. His stage acts were so wild, Time magazine
described it as: “He hopped, twisted and rolled over sideways
without missing a twang or a moan. He slung the guitar low over
swiveling hips, or raised it to pick the strings with his teeth; he thrust
it between his legs and did a bump and grind, crooning: ‘oh, baby,
come on now, sock it to me.’…For a symbolic finish, he lifted the
guitar and flung it against the amplifiers.” Time (April 25, 1968). His
specialty became the way he used feedback, which up until now was
an undesired sound. Using his guitar and the feedback it created, he
was able to generate sounds which were used to his advantage in
creating his unique style. This style is copied today by modern rock
artists; however, this style is duplicated today with the use of special
equipment, such as synthesizers.
Are You Experienced?, Electric Ladyland, Axis: Bold as Love,
and Smash Hits were all platinum albums. For the year of 1968,
Billboard named him Artist of the Year; and in August he played a
heart-stopping performance of the Star Spangled Banner at
Woodstock. His fame did not last forever though. In 1969, the
Experience broke-up. However, Hendrix claimed it was not forever,
but was just a chance for the members to develop their musical
abilities. Then Jimi’s drug addiction became worse. In Toronto, he
was arrested for possession of heroin (Stambler, pg. 291).
None of this held him back from his music though. He played
with other rock artists such as Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, and their
album, Band of Gypsy’s, won a gold record. In 1969, he was chosen
as the Artist of the Year by Playboy. His career seemed limitless, but
the heroin use caught up with him (Stambler, pg. 291).

On September 18, 1970, he was found dead in his room from a
drug overdose. He was only twenty seven years old. His music has
not been forgotten, as it is still popular today. If his addiction had not
overcome him, he could still be revolutionizing the style of rock

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