The late great James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) sadly passed away on this day 18th September 1970. Born November 27, at Seattle’s King County Hospital, in 1942, He is Widely hailed by music fans and critics alike as the greatest electric guitarist of all time, and remains the most influential rock guitarist and songwriter in recording history. He was influenced by blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, rhythm, blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper, and the jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.Hendrix was mostly self-taught on the guitar. He was ambidextrous but chose to play the guitar upside-down and re-strung for playing left-handed, which suggests that he was more comfortable left-handed. As a guitarist, he built upon the innovations of blues stylists such as B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, as well as those of rhythm and blues and soul music guitarists such as Curtis Mayfield. Hendrix’s music was also influenced by jazz; he often cited Rahsaan Roland Kirk as his favourite musician. In addition, Hendrix extended the tradition of rock guitar; although previous guitarists, such as The Kinks’ Dave Davies, Jeff Beck, and The Who’s Pete Townshend, had employed techniques such as feedback, distortion and other effects as sonic tools,Hendrix was able to exploit them to a previously undreamed-of extent, and made them an integral part of his own private, unique genre, which he called “Red”. The Hendrix sound combined high volume and high power, feedback manipulation, and a range of cutting-edge guitar effects, especially the UniVibe-Octavia combination, which can be heard to full effect on the Band of Gypsys’ live version of “Machine Gun”.
He was also known for his trick playing, which included playing with only his right (fretting) hand, using his teeth or playing behind his back, although he soon grew tired of audience demands to perform these tricks.As a record producer, Hendrix was an innovator in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. Hendrix was notably one of the first to experiment with stereo effects during the recording process. Hendrix was also an accomplished songwriter whose compositions have been performed by countless artists. At Woodstock, Larry Lee was a member of Hendrix’ Band of Gypsys, and also played a Gibson Les Paul Studio model and sung with Hendrix as well.
In the days before his death, Hendrix had been in poor health, due in part to fatigue caused by overworking, a chronic lack of sleep, and an illness assumed to be influenza-related. Insecurities about his personal relationships and disillusionment with the music industry had also contributed to his frustration. Although the details of his final hours and death are disputed, Hendrix spent much of his last day with Monika Dannemann. During the morning of September 18, she found him unresponsive in her apartment at the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill. She called for an ambulance at 11:18 a.m., and he was taken to St Mary Abbot’s Hospital where an attempt was made to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m.
The post-mortem examination concluded that Hendrix aspirated his own vomit and died of asphyxia while intoxicated with barbiturates. At the inquest, the coroner, finding no evidence of suicide and lacking sufficient evidence of the circumstances, recorded an open verdict. Dannemann stated that Hendrix had taken nine of her prescribed Vesparax sleeping tablets, 18 times the recommended dosage. On October 1, 1970, Hendrix was interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, Washington. In 1992, his former girlfriend Kathy Etchingham asked British authorities to reopen the investigation into his death. A subsequent inquiry by Scotland Yard proved inconclusive.