James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (Seattle, 27 November 1942 – London, 18 September 1970), was an American guitarist and singer. He’s considered one of the greatest guitarist of music history and also one of the greatest innovators of the electric guitar: during his artistic career as brief as intense, he made himself the precursor of many sound structures that would become the future rock evolutions (as for example the hard rock) through an original fusion of blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, psychedelic and funky.
Based on the 2003 ranking made by the Rolling Stone magazine he is the greatest guitarist of all times.
His closing performance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 became an out-and-out symbol: the image of the guitarist that, with scoffing artistic visionarity, plays the American national anthem in a provocatively distorted way entering powerfully in the collective musical imagination as one of the turning points in the history of rock.
Hendrix was introduced in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1992.
The picture that you see is dated back in 1967, when his band was invited - behind intercession of Paul McCartney - to the historic edition of the Monterey International Pop Festival of 16th, 17th and 18th June of that year, generally considered the starting event of the so called long summer of love. The opportunity was extremely favorable for Hendrix: beyond the wide stir that this event had in all the United States, his performance would have been immortalized in the documentary that would have been made from the festival. Experience didn't let escape the chance and made one of the most acclaimed performances of the festival, and one of the best of their entire live career; in the 40 minutes of the exhibition Hendrix played his Fender Stratocaster in a way never seen before, simulating sexual loves, playing with teeth, behind the back, against the microphone pole and the amplifiers. At the end of the performance, to underline the spasmodic need to find new sounds from the instrument, he burned it with lighters gas and broke it against the stage and the amplifiers in a catharsis of excruciating feedbacks.
The remains of the guitar destroyed by Hendrix that night were recovered and are actually exposed in the Seattle's Experience Music Project. The wild audio performance of the trio had a great echo in all the USA, preparing the ground to the success that would have welcomed as much the live performances of the guitarist as his record releases.
This article is part of the section: Photos that made history
Translation by Nina Kozul
Translation by Nina Kozul