In 1969 at Woodstock music festival, an unlikely event happened. Jimi Hendrix reinvented it from top to bottom to showcase the sound possible made by extreme high-volume electric guitar. His riffs are interpreted as weapons exploding and bombs being dropped from planes high in the sky.
Who was Jimi Hendrix? He was a poor boy from Seattle who loved the guitar. His outrageous electric guitar thrilled listeners then and today with his playing skills and experimental sound. He was the closing act for the Woodstock weekend in August and many people had left the concert and the mud drenched field. But Jimi was still there and halfway through his two hour set, he played “The Star Spangled Banner.” ( He often played the Star Spangled Banner in his concert sets.) It has become and will always be the pivotal moment of the concert. Hendrix was a hugely talented musician whose life was a mess. Does that sound familiar? After Woodstock, he was broiled in controversy and law suits for the last year of his life. This was his seminal moment on the world’s stage. There are rumors that he shot up heroin directly into his skull for a immediate hit. He died of drug complications at the age of 27 in 1970. Yes, he joined Janis Joplin as a member of the infamous “27 Club.”
Dick Cavett, the late night TV host, asked him about his rendition of the National Anthem shortly afterward. As you can imagine, it was controversial. “Were you trying to be blasphemous or disrespectful ?” Cavett asked.
Jimi, a fervent protester against the Viet Nam war, simply replied, ” I am an American. I thought it was beautiful.”
Text from Rolling Stone and Martin Johnson for The Root (08/14/09/
What are your thoughts about this post and Jimi Hendrix? If you like it , listen to Purple Haze. I don’t care for it as much.