Jimi Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter who recorded from 1962 until his death in 1970. Prior to his rise to fame in late 1966, he had recorded several singles as a sideman with American R&B artists, including the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and others. With the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he recorded three best-selling studio albums and several singles. An Experience compilation album and half of a live album recorded at the Monterey Pop Festival were also issued prior to his death. After the breakup of the Experience, some of his live performances at Woodstock and with the Band of Gypsys, as well as a Band of Gypsys studio single, were also released. Hendrix's albums and singles with the Experience were originally released by Track Records in the UK and Reprise Records in the U.S. Track also issued the Band of Gypsys' album, but to settle an American contract dispute, it was released by Capitol Records in the U.S. The Woodstock soundtrack album was issued by Atlantic Records (subsidiary Cotillion Records in U.S.). Over the years, the Hendrix catalogue has been handled by different record companies, including MCA Records and currently Sony's Legacy Recordings. His original albums have been reissued, sometimes with new album art, mixes, and bonus material. Hendrix's work as a sideman has appeared on several different labels. After he became popular, Hendrix contributed to recordings by several different artists. In addition to the legitimate singles and albums released before his death, two albums worth of demos and outtakes recorded with Curtis Knight with misleading cover art and titles were released, which Hendrix publicly denounced. After his death, many more such albums have appeared. Jimi Hendrix is a 1973 rockumentary about Jimi Hendrix, directed and produced by Joe Boyd, John Head and Gary Weis. The film contains concert footage from 1967 to 1970, including the Monterey Pop Festival the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, Woodstock and a Berkeley concert. The film also includes interviews with Hendrix' contemporaries, family and friends. People appearing in the film include Paul Caruso, Eric Clapton, Billy Cox, Alan Douglas, Germaine Greer, Hendrix' father, James A. "Al" Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Eddie Kramer, Buddy Miles, Mitch Mitchell, Juggy Murray, Little Richard, Lou Reed and Pete Townshend. The film is also known as A Film About Jimi Hendrix. The title was used on the 2005 DVD-cover and theatrical poster.
Soundtrack Recordings from the Film Jimi Hendrix is the soundtrack to the 1973 documentary film, Jimi Hendrix and the second live album by him. The double album was released by Reprise Records in July 1973. It contains the full-length live performances from the film and some clips from interviews (though not necessarily from the film). The album peaked at No. 89 on the Billboard album chart, which generated concern at Reprise Records that repackaging old material would no longer satisfy the fans of Jimi Hendrix. The album has not been released on compact disc.
In November 1961, fellow serviceman Billy Cox walked past an army club and heard Hendrix playing guitar. Intrigued by the proficient playing, which he described as a combination of “John Lee Hooker and Beethoven”, Cox borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed. Within a few weeks, they began performing at base clubs on the weekends with other musicians in a loosely organized band called the Casuals.
Hendrix completed his paratrooper training in just over eight months, and Major General C.W.G. Rich awarded him the prestigious Screaming Eagles patch on January 11, 1962. By February, his personal conduct had begun to draw criticism from his superiors. They labeled him an unqualified marksman and often caught him napping while on duty and failing to report for bed checks. On May 24, Hendrix’s platoon sergeant, James C. Spears filed a report in which he stated: “He has no interest whatsoever in the Army … It is my opinion that Private Hendrix will never come up to the standards required of a soldier. I feel that the military service will benefit if he is discharged as soon as possible.” On June 29, 1962, Captain Gilbert Batchman granted Hendrix an honorable discharge on the basis of unsuitability. Hendrix later spoke of his dislike of the army and falsely stated that he had received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during his 26th parachute jump.
Early yearsIn September 1963, after Cox was discharged from the Army, he and Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and formed a band called the King Kasuals. Hendrix had watched Butch Snipes play with his teeth in Seattle and by now Alphonso ‘Baby Boo’ Young, the other guitarist in the band, was performing this guitar gimmick. Not to be upstaged, Hendrix learned to play with his teeth, he commented: “The idea of doing that came to me … in Tennessee. Down there you have to play with your teeth or else you get shot. There’s a trail of broken teeth all over the stage.” Although they began playing low-paying gigs at obscure venues, the band eventually moved to Nashville’s Jefferson Street, which was the traditional heart of the city’s black community and home to a thriving rhythm and blues music scene. They earned a brief residency playing at a popular venue in town, the Club del Morocco, and for the next two years Hendrix made a living performing at a circuit of venues throughout the South who were affiliated with the Theater Owners’ Booking Association (TOBA), widely known as the Chitlin’ Circuit. In addition to playing in his own band, Hendrix performed as a backing musician for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, and Jackie Wilson.
In January 1964, feeling he had outgrown the circuit artistically, and frustrated by having to follow the rules of bandleaders, Hendrix decided to venture out on his own. He moved into the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where he befriended Lithofayne Pridgeon, known as “Faye”, who became his girlfriend.Harlem native with connections throughout the area’s music scene, Pridgeon provided him with shelter, support, and encouragement.Hendrix also met the Allen twins, Arthur and Albert. In February 1964, Hendrix won first prize in the Apollo Theater amateur contest. Hoping to secure a career opportunity, he played the Harlem club circuit and sat in with various bands. At the recommendation of a former associate of Joe Tex, Ronnie Isley granted Hendrix an audition that led to an offer to become the guitarist with the Isley Brothers’ back-up band, the I.B. Specials, which he readily accepted.
First recordingsIn March 1964, Hendrix recorded the two-part single “Testify” with the Isley Brothers. Released in June, it failed to chart. In May, he provided guitar instrumentation for the Don Covay song, “Mercy Mercy”. Issued in August by Rosemart Records and distributed by Atlantic, the track reached number 35 on the Billboard chart.
Hendrix toured with the Isleys during much of 1964, but near the end of October, after growing tired of playing the same set every night, he left the band. Soon afterward, Hendrix joined Little Richard’s touring band, the Upsetters. During a stop in Los Angeles in February 1965, he recorded his first and only single with Richard, “I Don’t Know What You Got (But It’s Got Me)”, written by Don Covay and released by Vee-Jay Records. Richard’s popularity was waning at the time, and the single peaked at number 92, where it remained for one week before dropping off the chart. Hendrix met singer Rosa Lee Brooks while staying at the Wilcox Hotel in Hollywood, and she invited him to participate in a recording session for her single, which included “My Diary” as the A-side, and “Utee” as the B-side. He played guitar on both tracks, which also included background vocals by Arthur Lee. The single failed to chart, but Hendrix and Lee began a friendship that lasted several years; Hendrix later became an ardent supporter of Lee’s band, Love.
In July 1965, on Nashville’s Channel 5 Night Train, Hendrix made his first television appearance. Performing in Little Richard’s ensemble band, he backed up vocalists Buddy and Stacy on “Shotgun”. The video recording of the show marks the earliest known footage of Hendrix performing. Richard and Hendrix often clashed over tardiness, wardrobe, and Hendrix’s stage antics, and in late July, Richard’s brother Robert fired him. He then briefly rejoined the Isley Brothers, and recorded a second single with them, “Move Over and Let Me Dance” backed with “Have You Ever Been Disappointed”. Later that year, he joined a New York-based R&B band, Curtis Knight and the Squires, after meeting Knight in the lobby of a hotel where both men were staying. Hendrix performed with them for eight months. In October 1965, he and Knight recorded the single, “How Would You Feel” backed with “Welcome Home” and on October 15, Hendrix signed a three-year recording contract with entrepreneur Ed Chalpin. While the relationship with Chalpin was short-lived, his contract remained in force, which later caused legal and career problems for Hendrix. During his time with Knight, Hendrix briefly toured with Joey Dee and the Starliters, and worked with King Curtis on several recordings including Ray Sharpe’s two-part single, “Help Me”.Hendrix earned his first composer credits for two instrumentals, “Hornets Nest” and “Knock Yourself Out”, released as a Curtis Knight and the Squires single in 1966.
Feeling restricted by his experiences as an R&B sideman, Hendrix moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1966, which had a vibrant and diverse music scene. There, he was offered a residency at the Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street and formed his own band that June, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, which included future Spirit guitarist Randy California. The Blue Flames played at several clubs in New York and Hendrix began developing his guitar style and material that he would soon use with the Experience. In September, they gave some of their last concerts at the Cafe au Go Go, as John Hammond Jr.’s backing group.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Main article: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Keith recommended Hendrix to Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein. They failed to see Hendrix’s musical potential, and rejected him.[ She then referred him to Chas Chandler, who was leaving the Animals and interested in managing and producing artists. Chandler liked the Billy Roberts song "Hey Joe", and was convinced he could create a hit single with the right artist. Impressed with Hendrix's version of the song, he brought him to London on September 23, 1966, and signed him to a management and production contract with himself and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. On September 24, Hendrix gave an impromptu solo performance at the Scotch-Club, and later that night he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted for two and a half years.
Following Hendrix’s arrival in London, Chandler began recruiting members for a band designed to highlight the guitarist’s talents, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix met guitarist Noel Redding at an audition for the New Animals, where Redding’s knowledge of blues progressions impressed Hendrix, who stated that he also liked Redding’s hairstyle. Chandler asked Redding if he wanted to play bass guitar in Hendrix’s band; Redding agreed. Chandler then began looking for a drummer and soon after, he contacted Mitch Mitchell through a mutual friend. Mitchell, who had recently been fired from Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, participated in a rehearsal with Redding and Hendrix where they found common ground in their shared interest in rhythm and blues. When Chandler phoned Mitchell later that day to offer him the position, he readily accepted.Chandler also convinced Hendrix to change the spelling of his first name from Jimmy to the exotic looking Jimi.
On September 30, Chandler brought Hendrix to the London Polytechnic at Regent Street, where Cream was scheduled to perform, and where Hendrix and Eric Clapton met. Clapton later commented: “He asked if he could play a couple of numbers. I said, ‘Of course’, but I had a funny feeling about him, Halfway through Cream’s set, Hendrix took the stage and performed a frantic version of the Howlin’ Wolf song “Killing Floor”.
In 1989, Clapton described the performance: “He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn’t in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it … He walked off, and my life was never the same again”.
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