How was Jimi Hendrix discovered

Rock legend Jimi Hendrix: Rise and early death - "he stole the show from me"

Jimi Hendrix's life was short and intoxicating. At the age of only 27, the man who played the guitar like no other died in London. That was 50 years ago.

The "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" called the idol of the American hippie movement the "most talented instrumentalist of all time". Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 and was found lifeless in the morning by his girlfriend at the time, a German. Today marks the 50th anniversary of his death.

Jimi Hendrix began his career at the age of 20, accompanying stars such as Curtis Knight, Ike & Tina Turner and Sam Cooke on guitar. "Jimi stole the show from me. I thought people applauded me, but they applauded him," Little Richard, who died in May this year, recalled later. He wanted to be more than just an accompanist.

"Directly the soul of the people"

But the New York audience in the mid-sixties was not yet ripe for his unconventional way of playing the guitar with his teeth and on his back. In 1966 he went to London, where he founded the band The Jimi Hendrix Experience together with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. Their show became a sensation and Hendrix became a black musician with a white audience. Stars like Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton loved it.

The band's songs and albums topped the charts. But the audience especially loved the live performances - how Hendrix worked on his instrument with fingers, lips and teeth, turned it into a love object and often destroyed it in the end. The amplifier was almost always turned up. "Faith comes to people through electricity," said Hendrix. "That's why we play so loud. We want our sound to hit people's souls directly."

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Drummer Mitch Mitchell, guitarist Jimi Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding 1969. (Source: imago images / LFI)

"All I've done is play it"

His version of the American national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969 became a historic milestone in music history. During the performance, Hendrix brutally imitated machine guns, bombs and military aircraft with his guitar. Many saw it as a protest against the Vietnam War.

Hendrix himself later said he had a nervous breakdown before the gig. When it came to his interpretation of the US anthem, all he said was, "I don't know, man. All I've done is play it. I'm American, so I played it." He didn't find it "unorthodox" either, just beautiful.

That's how Jimi Hendrix died

In the TV interview, Hendrix also revealed how tired he was. He hadn't slept the night before. The insomnia, the rise to a world star and the immense expectations overwhelmed him. He withdrew and used more and more drugs. He did not survive his last intoxication - just a few days after his appearance on the Baltic island of Fehmarn.

August 1970: Jimi Hendrix performing a few weeks before his death. (Source: imago images / Philippe Gras)

For a long time there were rumors about Hendrix's death in the London apartment of his German friend Monika Dannemann. According to all indications and the official version, however, the legendary guitarist died a surprising death on September 18, 1970. After a bottle of wine and possibly overdosed sleeping pills, he choked on his own vomit.

At the time of his death, Hendrix was 27 years old. Like Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse, among others, he is included in the so-called Club 27.

more on the subject

  • Subjects:
  • Music news,
  • Entertainment,
  • Music,
  • People,
  • Jimi Hendrix,
  • Guitar,
  • Woodstock,
  • UNITED STATES,
  • Monika Dannemann,
  • Little Richard,
  • Mitch Mitchell,
  • Pete Townshend,
  • Noel Redding,
  • Sam Cooke