James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is widely considered to be the greatest guitarist in musical history, and one of the most influential musicians of his era across a range of genres. After initial success in Europe with his group The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he achieved fame in the United States following his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Later, Hendrix headlined the iconic 1969 Woodstock Festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. He often favored raw overdriven amplifiers with high gain and treble and helped develop the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback.
Hendrix, as well as his friend Eric Clapton, popularized use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock which he often used to deliver an exaggerated sense of pitch in his solos, particularly with high bends, complex guitar playing, and use of legato. As a record producer, Hendrix also broke new ground in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. He was one of the first to experiment with stereophonic phasing effects for rock recording.
Hendrix was influenced by blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, rhythm and blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper, and the jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Hendrix (who was then known as ‘Maurice James’) began dressing and wearing a moustache like Little Richard when he performed and recorded in his band from March 1, 1964 through to the spring of 1965. In 1966, Hendrix stated, “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice”.
Hendrix won many of the most prestigious rock music awards in his lifetime, and has been posthumously awarded many more, including being inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. An English Heritage blue plaque was erected in his name on his former residence at Brook Street, London, in September 1997. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 6627 Hollywood Blvd.) was dedicated in 1994. In 2006, his debut US album, Are You Experienced, was inducted into the United States National Recording Registry, and Rolling Stone named Hendrix the top guitarist on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all-time in 2003.
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