Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was a blues/rock guitarist, Top 40 act, and an undisputed guitar innovator whose recordings during the psychedelic era helped to redefine the sound of the electric guitar, which also proved an inspiration for heavy metal music.

Born in Seattle, Washington, he received a medical discharge from the 101st Airborne Division (from a broken ankle after a parachute jump) after voluntarily enlisting for the war in Vietnam. Hendrix, who had been playing guitar (left handed) since childhood, initially made his living supporting touring soul and blues musicians, including Curtis Knight, B. B. King, and Little Richard during 1965. His first notice came from appearances with The Isley Brothers, notably on the two-parter "Testify" in 1964. On October 15, 1965, Hendrix signed a three-year recording contract with Ed Chaplin, receiving $1 and 1% royalty on records with Curtis Knight. The agreement was later to cause continual litigation problems with Hendrix and other record labels.

By 1966 he had his own band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, and a residency at the Cafe Wha? in New York City. While with the Blue Flames, he was discovered by Chas Chandler, of British rock group The Animals, who brought him to England, where Chandler, as the record producer, helped Hendrix form a new band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.

After a few concerts, the band started to gain a reputation among their contempora...