Why was Jimmy Hendrix good at guitar

Jimi Hendrix: a man, a guitar, a legend

He's a real legend: Jimi Hendrix. The rock virtuoso would have turned 75 on November 27th.

He doesn't play the guitar, he mates with it. Elicit shrill archaic tones from her, roll around on the floor with her, bring the strings into booming vibrations with teeth and tongue. At the end, when the audience no longer knows whether they are attending a concert or a voodoo spell, he lights the instrument ... It was his first big performance at an open air. Looking back, Jimi Hendrix said: "When me Burning my guitar was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar. "

Making love with the guitar

Michael Jeismann, author of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", was still completely out of breath 40 years after the ecstatic number when he wrote: "At the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Jimi Hendrix demonstrated what intensity means to an audience who was completely under his spell His interpretation of the hit 'Wild Thing' was monstrous. While the original version of the Troggs from the previous year sounded like a denial of their title, Hendrix performed an act of love between musician and guitar on the open stage. "

The descriptions of this artist are still incomprehensible. His talent, spontaneity and intensity overwhelm the audience. The greatest rock guitarist of all time has been dead for over 45 years. On September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 in a London hotel. In less than four years he had achieved musical immortality. Today, November 27th, he would have been 75 years old.

Army or jail!

What a madman! Superiors in the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, United States, groaned more than once when faced with volunteer James Marshall Hendrix. Well, the 18-year-old from Seattle, the son of an African American and a half-Indian woman of Irish descent, did not come to the army that completely voluntarily. After being kicked out of high school and caught stealing a car, he had a choice: prison or volunteering for the military!

James Marshall Hendrix, called Jimi, chose the Barras and became a paratrooper. An idiotic career choice, because he was actually a guitarist. One by nature, since his father gave him a guitar when he was thirteen. Even as a soldier, he had nothing but the instrument in his head. He played at every opportunity and even took the guitar to bed with him. She was his rifle, his lover, his everything.

His spear was about to stick him in the burrow when he told him he could imitate the wind instruments of a swing band and the hissing of the wind on the guitar. But then he showed him. It was clear to even the toughest sergeant: this Hendrix will never become a sensible soldier.

When he injured his foot while jumping, Jimi Hendrix was released from the Army in 1962 after 13 months. The way to a musical life was clear. In the military he met the one year older bassist Billy Cox, who joined the reformed band Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1969 and with whom he toured through New York after his release from the Army and later through the USA (including with Little Richard). Wherever Jimi appeared, he drove his audience into a frenzy.

A genius that leaves you breathless

"Jimi Hendrix took the game of electric guitar to a completely new level. Where previously almost every guitar band employed two guitarists, Hendrix always played as the only guitarist in the trio, only with a bassist and a drummer. He played the melody and chord accompaniment at the same time" , writes Michael Dorka, music editor of the radio station SWR 1.

In 1966, Chas Chandler, a former bassist with Eric Burdon and his world-famous band The Animals, brought him to London. Jimi played for guitar stars like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards, and they were speechless when they first heard this Hendrix.

Like a hurricane, the man they once called the guitar satan, sometimes the godfather of the guitar, with his white Fender Stratocaster conquered the international music world and the hearts of millions of fans with his first hit "Hey Joe", which he also did in November 1966 in the Big Apple tore the Munich audience from their chairs. Jimi Hendrix songs like "Stone Free", "Red House", "Purple Haze", "The Wind Cries Merry", "Voodoo Child", "Foxy Lady" and "All Along The Watchtower", the cover version of a bob Dylan songs are still classics today.

Political commitment

After the triumph at the Monterey Festival, mediated by Paul McCartney, the legendary Hendrix appearance in Woodstock followed in 1969. The highlight: Jimi played the US national anthem "Star Spangled Banner", but not in the way the stubborn patriots had imagined. He gave a mighty, powerful voice to all his generation's anger over the Vietnam War. With his guitar he staged the thunder of the phantom fighter-bombers, whistling rockets, exploding napalm bombs. The solemn melody became a martial beacon, the wild tumult of battle - a declaration of war on the American way of life. Ever since then, right-wing and reactionary America has hated its greatest rock guitarist.

Don't be fooled by its visual appearance. Jimi Hendrix was not a hippie, despite his flowery clothes, despite the headbands, tufted hair, and all the chains that hung on him. "This mass movement with its love slogans can be forgotten," he said in April 1969. He was not a flower child, but a musical arsonist who played against the racism of his homeland and its involvement in the Vietnam War and was committed to the Black Panthers.

Love, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll

As obsessed as Jimi Hendrix was with his music, he was also obsessed with life. Curtis Knight, who was once his singing partner in New York, described in his book "Jimi" the excesses that he practiced to the point of total exhaustion: jam sessions until well after sunrise, sex with four groupies at the same time, consumption of all drugs, "one Junkie pharmacy ".

Of the countless women who had an affair with him, only a few by name emerge from the tangle of stories and rumors, including a certain Alvinia Bridges from London, the German model Uschi Obermaier, Kathy Etchingham, also from London Danish actress Kirsten Nefer, the Englishwoman Devon Wilson, to whom he dedicated his last song "Dolly Dagger" because she had confronted him about his adventure with Kirsten Hefer. The American Cynthia "Plaster" Caster even made a cast of Jimi's penis - and exhibited it after his death. In an interview with "Vice" she described the procedure after a concert in Chicago: "The whole band was there. Of course, we girls went crazy: He was really in his element."

Of all the groupies and admirers, the German Monika Dannemann probably loved him the most. The former figure skating trainer from Düsseldorf wanted to marry him and also spent his last night with him. Dannemann wrote a book about Jimi - and litigated for decades against ex-rival Kathy Etchingham, who accused her of complicity in the death of Jimi Hendrix. Both accused themselves of lying. Two days after the last trial, which Monika Dannemann lost for disregarding the court, she committed suicide on April 5, 1996.

The last days

The musician and author Alan Tapper did research for the music magazine "Good Times" Jimi Hendrix 'last days in London. According to this, his lawyer Henry Steingarten arrived in London on September 16, 1970, and there is a paternity lawsuit against him. Manager Ed Chaplin also wants an appointment. Hendrix ignores both and prefers to attend the birthday party of Judy Wong, another friend of the guitarist, with his girlfriend Monika Dannemann. Later he meets Eric Burdon and his new formation War at Ronnie Scott's jazz club and plays with them. It is his very last appearance.

September 17th: Jimi has spent the night with some girls and is ready to go. Apparently he is still on the phone with a friend and says: "Man, I need help!" Then he goes to the Samarkand Hotel, where his girlfriend Monika Dannemann has rented an apartment. In the garden she takes photos of him for a record cover. Then they drive into town, meet two girls Jimi knows. Dannemann makes him a jealous scene. Then they drive back to the Samarkand Hotel.

Around 11 p.m. Monika cooks him something to eat. Jimi sits at his desk and writes a song that he wants to name "The Story of Life". The last lines seem like a dark premonition; Eric Burdon will later speak of a suicide note: "The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye / The story of love is hello and goodbye / Until we meet again." Then Monika and Jimi drink red wine until dawn and fall asleep.

On the morning of September 18, Monika woke up around 10:20 a.m. Jimi still seems to be asleep. She goes to buy cigarettes, comes back and calls Eric Burdon. Tells him that Jimi is still asleep but has something vomited on the corner of his mouth. Burdon says she should make a strong coffee and wake Jimi with light slaps in the face. At around 11:18 a.m., Monika calls the emergency doctor, who takes the lifeless Hendrix to the St. Mary Abbots Hospital, where his death is determined at 12:45 p.m. Immediately it was spread around the world that Jimi Hendrix had died of a heroin overdose.

Big puzzles about the cause of death

During the autopsy on September 28, the renowned forensic doctor Prof. Donald Teare was unable to detect any needle punctures or signs of drug abuse (heroin, cocaine, cannabis), but various barbiturates (including the sleeping pill Vesparax) and the stimulant Black Bomber and 400 ml Detect fluid in the lungs of the dead person. The official findings of the pathologist: "Death from suffocation on one's own vomit. And barbiturate poisoning. Inadequate evidence for the circumstances. No final judgment."

This has not changed to this day, the mysteries surrounding the death of Jimi Hendrix persist. The conspiracy theorist Alex Constantine has knitted an adventurous speculation about a murder plot out of it. He only left open who was involved: the Mafia, the CIA and the FBI, which had actually opened a file on Jimi Hendrix?


The tragedy surrounding Jimi Hendrix was a fateful prelude to the early end of two more world rock music stars who became legends. On October 4, 1070, the singer Janis Joplin (27) died of a heroin overdose in her hotel room in Hollywood. And on July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison, the front man of the cult band The Doors, died of a heart attack in Paris, where heroin is also said to have been involved. And he was only 27 years old. All three have become immortal with their music. But Zeus in the Olympus of rock'n'roll is and remains Jimi Hendrix.