Jimi Hendrix – There isn’t another name as iconic. Metallica, Motorhead, Prince and the Pretenders have all stated that they wouldn’t have had the careers they’ve had if it wasn’t for Hendrix. What makes this man so legendary and why does he remain relevant, still to this day?
His unique sound
Hendrix most well-known live performance took place at the Woodstock Festival in 1970. He headlined the final day where his iconic adaptation of the ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ blew the audience away with his unique style, utilizing feedback and distortion. This was an anti-war message, at the time of the USA’s involvement in the Vietnam War, notorious with the peace movement in the era. Hendrix was an advocate of self-expression and individuality, and his music represented freedom.
A well-known trademark of Hendrix was that he played right handed guitars, although he was left handed. What few might know is that he could play both left handed and right handed guitars. Jimi’s father associated being left handed with the devil, so in his youth Hendrix started off as a traditional right-handed player. His approach to flip around and re-string a right handed Fender Stratocaster, created that unique Hendrix-tone, due to the reversed tonality of the pickups and greater control over the knobs and whammy bar.
Impact on music in his time
He had an emotive soulful style that was way ahead of his time. This was a unique blend of RnB and psychedelic rock. He achieved this with guitar techniques such as hammer ons, slur licks and heavy vibrato. Little Wing is a great example of this, with a lyrical guitar solo and soulful increments. Because of his unique style and popularity, he was regarded as one of the most influential guitarists before his death, despite his popularity being at its peak for just four years.
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton attended the first Jimi Hendrix Experience show in London in 1966. Not only a legend in the rock world, Hendrix also formed a friendship with jazz legend Miles Davis, who claimed Hendrix was the biggest influence behind his album Bitches Brew.
The legacy lives on
Hendrix has in fact made an impact on all rock-based musical genres to come, with guitar heroes like Slash, Prince and Stevie Ray Vaughan naming him the best guitarist of all time.
Today, his almost patented sound is recognized by most people all over the world and his music is often featured in commercials, movies and there is even a Jimi Hendrix slot game that can be played at online casinos.His importance among new generations of musicians ventures out to most guitar based music. John Frusciante, formerly of funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, told Rolling Stone magazine that “Hendrix’s music always sounds so perfect because he’s bending sound, taking care of music in every dimension – where most people think of it in two dimensions, he’s thinking of it in four. I don’t think there’s a better guitar player in history. He’s not something that can be improved on.”