By JOHN DALY
Jimi Hendrix is widely regarded as one of the best guitarists who ever lived, and his influence on the music industry was astounding. Despite having passed away at the age of 27, Hendrix managed to gain worldwide recognition during his short playing career in the 1960s. One of the first ever guitarists to use effects pedals and make them sound cool, Hendrix is also credited with being a pioneer in turning an instrument into an electric sound source. The Seattle-born rocker hasn’t been seen on stage since his final appearance in 1970, but his legend still goes on. Hendrix is considered among the all-time greats, and his legacy in popular culture is going strong.
How did Hendrix Become so Popular?
Hendrix spent much of the early 1960s playing the R&B circuits in Nashville and New York, but was struggling to earn a living playing such small gigs. He was eventually discovered by Keith Richards’ girlfriend Linda Keith. She introduced him to Chas Chandler from the Animals, who was interested in perusing a managerial career after leaving the band. Hey Joe was to become Hendrix’s first major single in 1966, and after this Chandler set about putting together the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This was a band designed to highlight and emphasise Hendrix’s skills, with the guitar wizard front and centre.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience boosted Hendrix to notoriety rapidly. The band which featured Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums produced three studio albums between 1966 and 1969. Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, and Electric Ladyland were featured in the top 100 of the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and earned the band recognition as one of the best acts in rock. If Hendrix hadn’t passed away while at his peak, there is no telling how successful he could have been.
The Jimi Hendrix Legacy
Despite being stolen too early, Hendrix still managed to create a legacy which lives on to this day. Any young rock fan interested in guitar knows who Hendrix was, and his iconic image is used in a lot of music-related media. In fact, Hendrix has frequently appeared in games as a way to attract players. One of the most recent titles to use the legendary rocker’s image is the Jimi Hendrix slot game from NetEnt. The game available at Betway features psychedelic graphics, and some of Hendrix’s biggest hits play as the reels spin. Needless to say, Hendrix also featured in Guitar Hero World Tour in 2008. Players were able to shred away on Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary. Being able to feel as though they were actually playing these famous solos was a big draw for players, and it is likely that similar opportunities will come when virtual reality hits the mainstream.
Hendrix has appeared in a number of films, with one of the most popular offerings being 2011’s Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero. The documentary directed by Jon Brewer and narrated by Slash of Guns N’ Roses was a celebration of the guitar master featuring interviews with various musicians. The music of the late guitarist lives on, and is often played by esteemed cover bands. Experience Jimi Hendrix is one of the most exciting tributes to the work of the magical musician, and the “guitar event of the year” is set to return this year between March and April. The show is a celebration of Jimi’s music played by various world-famous acts including Jonny Lang, Joe Satriani, and Dave Mustaine.
Who else is in the Same League as Hendrix?
Hendrix is often credited as the godfather of modern guitar playing, and many people consider him to still be the greatest of all time. It is hard to say whether anyone has ever managed to recreate the sound in the same way, but there are a few guitarists who could be considered as skilled as the Washington-born legend. Some musicians who could be directly compared to Hendrix include Prince, George Clinton, and John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Hendrix is often mentioned alongside the likes of Jimmy Page, Slash, Eric Clapton, and Chuck Berry. But it could easily be argued that the late rocker is the best of them all. Hendrix’s songs are still found everywhere, and his legacy lives on in various other media. Through the influence that the guitarist still has on the music industry to this day, Hendrix is gone but will never be forgotten. The guitar god is certainly essential listening for anyone interested in picking up an axe.