It still amazes me that a guitar legend who died almost 50 years ago, continues to inspire countless musicians and guitar players today. In 1970, on September 18, James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was found dead in his apartment in London's Samarkand Hotel. Cause of death? Hendrix choked on his own vomit while intoxicated with barbiturates. He was 27 years old.

Jimi started out playing guitar at 15 and after a discharge from the Army in 1962, he began playing with numerous bands and sometimes supporting marquee artists such as Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Ike & Tina Turner. It was only after he joined the backup band for the Isley Brothers(the I.B. Specials) that he finally started to garner some attention. Little Richard liked what he heard and invited the young guitarist to join his band, the Upsetters.

Hendrix eventually got tired of being a sideman, moved to New York's Greenwich Village and started his own band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. That lasted for a little while but Jimi was yearning for stardom and he was developing his incendiary guitar style that would soon be blowing people away. The Animal's Chas Chandler was leaving his band, looking to becoming a producer and promoter. Chas saw Jimi perform at a nightclub and was especially impressed with Jimi's version of "Hey Joe". He invited Jimi to come across the pond to London. And the legend begins...

Hendrix's "mainstream" career lasted only four years, but in that short span of time, his musical accomplishments were of profound influence. What Jimi did in the studio on his albums "Are You Experienced?"; "Axis:Bold As Love"; and "Electric Ladyland" are simply awe-inspiring. Not to mention his numerous live performances. People are STILL trying to figure out some of the things Hendrix did, either in studio or on stage. None other than Eric Clapton(a pretty good guitar player himself) said that his life was never the same after Jimi joined Clapton's band Cream on stage one night.

If Jimi were still alive, who knows what sounds would be coming out of his guitar? God only knows...and let's hope the Lord is a fan of feedback. Jimi, you'll forever be missed.

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