Sydney Recording Studios: Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix delighted audiences in the 1960s with his outrageous electric guitar playing skills and his experimental sound.
Born in 1942, in Seattle, Washington, Jimi Hendrix learned to play guitar as a teenager and grew up to become a rock legend who excited audiences in the 1960s with his innovative electric guitar playing. One of his most memorable performances was at Woodstock in 1969, where he performed “The Star Spangled Banner.” Hendrix died in 1970 from drug-related complications, leaving his mark on the world of rock music and remaining popular to this day.
Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix (later changed by his father to James Marshall) on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. He had a difficult childhood, sometimes living in the care of relatives or acquaintances.
His mother, Lucille, was only 17 years old when Hendrix was born. She had a stormy relationship with his father, Al, and eventually left the family after the couple had two more children together, sons Leon and Joseph. Hendrix would only see his mother sporadically before her death in 1958.
Sydney Recording Studios: Jimi Hendrix Guitar
In many ways, music became a sanctuary for Hendrix. He was a fan of blues and rock and roll, and with his father’s encouragement taught himself to play guitar.
When Hendrix was 16, his father bought him his first acoustic guitar, and the next year his first electric guitar—a right-handed Supro Ozark that the natural lefty had to flip upside down to play. Shortly thereafter, he began performing with his band, the Rocking Kings. In 1959, he dropped out of high school and worked odd jobs while continuing to follow his musical aspirations.
In 1961, Hendrix followed in his father’s footsteps by enlisting in the United States Army. While training as a paratrooper, Hendrix still found time for music, forming a band named the King Kasuals. Hendrix served in the army until 1962, when he was honorably discharged after injuring himself during a parachute jump.
After leaving the military, Hendrix began working under the name Jimmy James as a session musician, playing backup for such performers as Little Richard, B.B. King, Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers. In 1965 he also formed a group of his own called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, which played gigs around New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.