Eclectic, insane, unprejudiced, visionary, poet. In two words: Jimi Hendrix, the man who in the 1970s made the history of the electric guitar.
It was 1966, when at Cafe Wha in New York, Hendrix was on stage playing a song from the aggressive attitude readjustment blues “Hey Joe” by Billy Roberts. To listen the dazzling exhibition there was Chas Chandler, drummer of Animals, that at the end of the evening he called Hendrix himself, telling him she’d brought to England to show what he could do with the guitar and to become known by Eric Clapton. Arrived overseas, the next step was to adapt to the new sound accompanied by musicians he had in mind and after some auditions was adopted the shape of power-trio, at the time used. The musicians were bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, both British virtuoso. Thus was born the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The trio proved to be an absolute novelty in Europe and managed to enrapture guitarists like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. The Who strove, even so that Hendrix would accept a proposal by their record company. The first piece of data released on 45 rpm, it was “Hey Joe” and later “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary, who became mainstays of the band.
With the album Are You Experienced, the trio had huge success, arriving in the UK, second only to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. The Experience, however, he needed to make himself known even in the United States and the opportunity came in 1967, when the band was invited to the Monterey International Pop Festival. Hendrix took the proposal to the flight and became the protagonist of one of the most significant and revolutionary performances of music history. In 40 minutes urged his guitar to the Max, miming with it sex, play with his teeth and behind his back. After having performed the last piece Wild Thing, here’s the icing on the cake: Decides to set fire to his Stratocaster, mimicking a rite of the African tribe of Voodoo, into the rail against stage and amplifiers. Hendrix will remember that night to exact half century ago, with these words: “I felt that we were managing to inflame the whole world. So I decided to destroy the guitar at the end of the song. As a form of sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar “.
The latter was not the only shocking displays of Hendrix. Note is also to Woodstock in ‘ 69, when guitarist insisted on being the last to perform. He had a clear idea about what would happen at the end of the concert, in fact after the performance, among the general public’s dismay, he started playing the notes of Star Spangled Banner, the American anthem. His version will go down in history as a harsh metaphor against the war in Viet Nam, evoked by whistles and explosions generated by his Fender and expanded from the wall by Marshall that stood in the Park.
Likely to remain in the collective musical memory, Jimi Hendrix died just 27 years old, choked on her own vomit, leaving behind a musical repertoire that inspired much of subsequent generations. And we do not find better way to close an article in his memory that with two of his most famous phrases and the piece that most represents the spirit:
“Technically I’m not a guitarist. All that sound is truth and emotion. “
“We make music free, lasts, that strong peaks on the soul so open it.”
The music of Jimi Hendrix is on Amazon