James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career lasted only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix began playing guitar at age 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the US Army and trained as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, but he was discharged the following year. He moved to Clarksville, Tennessee soon after and began playing gigs on the Chitlin’ Circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers‘ backing band and later with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-1965. He played with Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after being discovered by Linda Keith, who interested bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals in becoming his first manager. Within months, Hendrix earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Hey Joe“, “Purple Haze“, and “The Wind Cries Mary“. He achieved fame in the US after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and his third and final studio album Electric Ladyland reached number one in the US in 1968; it was Hendrix’s most commercially successful release and his only number-one album. He was the world’s highest-paid performer, and he headlined the Woodstock festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. He died from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18, 1970, at age 27.