Woodstock photo Redmond

Jimi Hendrix, eternally young, began music journey with ukulele

Jimi Hendrix Army photo
Jimi Hendrix served in the US Army. (Photo US Army via Wikipedia)

November 27 is Jimi Hendrix’s birthday. Because he died just shy of his 28th birthday, his image is forever imprinted on our minds as one of eternal youth.

Considering his genius, you’d think he’d studied music from an early age. You might think his love of music was nurtured by all who knew him. That’s not the way it was, though. Besides that, Hendrix didn’t begin his musical journey with a guitar. 

Hendrix had to persist in order to play the instrument he would become famous for. Most accounts point to an experience he had when he was approximately 15 years old. Helping his dad, he came across a ukulele. It had one string. It was Hendrix’s first instrument, according to a 1999 bio of Hendrix written by Johnny Black.

Hendrix squeezed a lot of living into his short life. He served in the US Army, but the military life was definitely not his cup of tea. He played his last concert in the US in 1970, the same year he died in London from suffocation caused by a drug overdose. Since then, Hendrix’s image has graced a US stamp and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Anyone born in the late 1960s or early 1970s has probably seen Hendrix’s image as part of accounts of the Woodstock music festival in 1969. Anyone familiar with the guitar knows the legacy Hendrix left behind will resonate for a very long time to come.

Artists like Hendrix know the Grim Reaper well. From Amy Winehouse to Robert Johnson, a number of talented musicians have died young. The website The Wrap compiled a list of celebrities who, like Hendrix, died before their 28th birthday.

Read more about Hendrix at his Wikipedia entry. The sources used are credible, and there’s much of interest about this remarkable musician who changed music forever. The Wikipedia bio is longer than that of many celebrities and even politicians. I think Hendrix would get a kick out of that.

You can also see lots of information about Hendrix on Twitter, under the hashtag ‘Jimi Hendrix’. Lots of interesting photos on that thread.

(Kay B. Day/11-27-18)

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