On this day in 1970, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27.
It could be argued that no musician has had a career as short lived and as influential as Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington. He grew up as an African American musician during an era of segregation in the United States. He started playing guitar when he 15 years old. He absolutely loved the famous, black Blues musicians that were famous at the time, including Muddy Water, B.B. King and Robert Johnson.
After leaving the army, he played backup for different musicians, while touring the United Sates going to venues where African Americans were allowed. His biggest break came from playing with The Isley Brothers. But it wasn’t long until he felt too restricted creatively by being just a front man. He decided to move to Greenwich Village, New York City in 1966 to establish himself as an independent artist.
During a performance at a nightclub in New York, Hendrix was noticed by Keith Richards’ girlfriend at the time. She connected him to Keith’s manager and producer. However, they didn’t see potential in him and they rejected him. Fortunately, he was picked up by manager Chas Chandler, who got him in touch with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. THus, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed.
Hendrix’s career with the band was legendary. He became a cultural icon and an innovator on his instrument. Rolling Stone magazine and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have consistently praised his work for decades. He died tragically from suffocating on vomit after he had passed out from intoxication. Despite his checkered history of drug and alcohol abuse, Hendrix’s music is still influential and important today.