Today marks both the beginning and end of Jimi Hendrix’s short but dazzling career at the forefront of rock guitar. On October 1, 1966, he appeared live at London Polytechnic, joining Eric Clapton and Cream onstage for a rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” where he cemented his place as the premier guitarist of the era.
Clapton later stated that his life was never the same again.
Exactly four years after, on October 1, 1970, Hendrix was buried at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, Washington.
Shortly after the death of his friend, Clapton temporarily retreated from music. “The night that he died, I was supposed to meet him at the Lyceum [Theatre, London] to see Sly Stone play,” recounts Clapton in an emotional 1979 interview. “I brought with me a left-handed Stratocaster… I could see him, but we never got together. The next day, whack, he was gone.”
News of Hendrix’s sudden passing on September 18, 1970, in London sent shockwaves around the world. “If you’re much over 30, the odds are you’ve never heard of Jimi Hendrix,” said ABC reporter Gregory Jackson.
Nowadays, over half a century later, the exact opposite is true. Indeed, since his death, Hendrix has increasingly become an inspiration for electric guitar players of all ages.
Get The Pick Newsletter
All the latest guitar news, interviews, lessons, reviews, deals and more, direct to your inbox!
Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.