My friend Craig decided to have me help cull his music the other day. He’s getting tired of moving his record collection around so Craig is bringing most of his LPs to an auction house along with some other old household items. The job is just too big for eBay.
We set aside some music that he just can’t bear to sell yet. Among them are his Jimi Hendrix LPs. Neither of us has touched stylus to vinyl of any Hendrix records in years, so we just had to give a few of them a listen. Both of us now enjoy more laid back musical styles. Listening to the “Jimi Hendrix Experience” was pleasantly jarring and exciting.
Craig mentioned that Hendrix not only had a very unconventional approach to guitar, he could get quite philosophical, too. There is one Hendrix quotation that is often remembered by pundits and former flower children alike: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” In fact, I have this sentence mounted and framed in my den.
Hendrix was a composite creation of his own unorthodox attitudes and the music industry of the 1960s. He cut his teeth playing for such heavyweights as The Isely Brothers and Wilson Pickett, in 1964. British musician Chas Chandler convinced Hendrix to go to London, England. He was then teamed up with drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding. The combo was dubbed “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”.
“Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.”
The southpaw, Hendrix, favored a reverse strung right-handed Fender Stratocaster. He coaxed phenomenal sounds from his instrument. His trademark stylings were in place in 1967 for his debut album “Are You Experienced?”. He wowed the public with his skillful use of vibrato, wah-wah, and controlled feedback. The album was a crazy blend of R&B and hard rock.
“The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.”
That same year, The Jimi Hendrix Experience debuted at the Monterey Pop Festival. He wowed the audience and then topped it off by burning his guitar on stage. The controversial destruction of his instrument made instant headlines and has been talked about for years.
“I wish they’d had electric guitars in cotton fields back in the good old days. A whole lot of things would’ve been straightened out.”
Hendrix’s musical philosophy and style came through “Electric Ladyland”. I think this is his best effort. “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” still gives me goosebumps. One of my all time favorite songs is on that album, his version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”. He outshown even Bob Dylan with his cover version of the song.
“If it was up to me, there wouldn’t be no such thing as the establishment.”
It was one of the songs from “Electric Ladyland” that went on to highlight the entire Woodstock Music Festival in August of 1969. His version of “The Star Spangled Banner” has been described as bruised, fractured, but beautiful.
“It’s funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life.”
It was shortly after reworking his band that Jimi Hendrix died a taudry death. On September 18, 1970, he overdosed on sleeping medication and suffocated in his sleep. Thus ended a life that was brilliant and explosive like a fireworks display.
The Blue Jay of Happiness remembers this Jimi Hendrix saying: “You don’t have to be singing about love all the time in order to give love to the people. You don’t have to keep flashing those words all the time.”