What did Jimi Hendrix mean to you? We want to hear what you have to
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Henry McCulloughGuitarist, Wings
Jimi produced the first single and album for my band Eire Apparent, and we did many tours with Jimi, Mitch, and Noel, as we had the same management. To see Jimi in full flight in the ’60s was something to behold. We, them, him, her, and everyone else were never the same again. He was a true master of the electric guitar. You really had to be there to see the light—it was purple!
Somehow Jimi Hendrix made the transition from being a journeyman rhythm & blues guitarist to something, well, quite other. Along the way, he started guitarists everywhere on a trip that no one could have foreseen.
I recall that it was simple. The man looked you straight in the eye, and all involved got down to the pleasure of playing music together. It is what good musicians look forward to.
Jimi Hendrix. That is the name I always give when I get asked who my favorite guitarist is. Jimi communicated through his instrument in a magical way, and he spearheaded the electric guitar into a world of sonics that had never been heard before. He was a genius, and his music still makes the hairs on my arms stand up. His legacy of guitar playing and compositions and live performances will live on forever.
Every aspect of Jimi Hendrix is inspiring to me—his sense of fashion, his playing, songwriting, and his tone. Obviously, his lead playing was revolutionary. But when people say they want to hear a Hendrix-oriented thing, my brain goes right to his rhythm-guitar playing and his chord voicings. To me, the sound of his rhythm playing is the true essence of the Hendrix sound, and it still inspires me to this day.
As for his enduring legacy, I think it may have something to do with the fact that Hendrix had a bunch of crossover songs that were hits. There’s a commercial element to the Hendrix story that can’t be overlooked. For example, I think that Jeff Beck is every ounce as unique and inspirational as Hendrix, but Jeff hasn’t had as many hits, and therefore is not as well known to the general public. There’s also a huge mystique to dying young. People wonder—as we are now—“God, what would he have done?”
Guitarist, Jethro Tull
In 1966 or 1967, I was playing guitar for the Coasters’ tour in the U.K. We all traveled together, and after a show up north, we were dropping the band off at their hotel in London at around 2:00 in the morning. In the lobby was a guitarist sitting on a Vox AC30 playing a Stratocaster. I’d never seen hair like his afro, and his clothes were very bright. It was quite a sight. I asked the Coasters who he was, and they said he was an amazing musician in the U.K. for the first time. I didn’t see him for a year, but, after that, I heard him play at the London clubs quite often. We eventually met and shared a stage many times over the years, and he was a gentle and modest friend with a truly world class talent.