Happy Friday! Today we’re taking a look at the life, death, and famous grave of renowned guitarist James Marshall Hendrix, known the world over as Jimi Hendrix. He is described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and by his devoted fans, as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” Even in death, Jimi Hendrix continues to shine as one of the most influential performers of all time.
Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle in 1942, and endured an unstable childhood. His family lived in poverty. His parents drank regularly and they struggled to properly care for their children; several of his siblings were sent to foster homes, and Jimi himself often stayed with his grandmother. When he was only 9, his parents divorced, and he went to live with his father.
Inspired to learn guitar by the famous musicians of his era, Jimi acquired his first instrument as a teenager. It was an acoustic and he loved it, but he soon realized that he would need an electric guitar if he was going to truly be heard while jamming with his friends on stage. The next year, his father bought him his first electric guitar, and the rest is history.
Jimi joined the Army in 1961, completed training as a paratrooper and was honorably discharged by 1963. After coming home, he began to pursue his interest in music full-force, and was eventually noticed and appreciated by Chas Chandler of The Animals fame. Chas helped him start up “The Jimi Hendrix Experience,” a band created with the purpose of promoting Jimi and his extraordinary talent on the guitar. The “Experience” helped to launch Jimi into worldwide fame, as more people came to recognize and remember his unique style of playing.
By 1969, the “Experience” had run it’s course. But Jimi Hendrix showed no signs of stopping. He was scheduled to headline a show at the much-anticipated Woodstock festival in New York in August of that year. One of the songs he played was his own version of the Star-Spangled Banner. With added technique to mimic the sounds of the Vietnam War, it proved to be the performance of a lifetime.
DRUG USE AND DEATH
Jimi had experimented with drugs for most of his adult life. But he wasn’t able to handle himself when his abuse of drugs was mixed with his penchant for alcohol. He was know to behave eradically and was especially prone to violence during these times. On September 18th, 1970, Jimi Hendrix died of barbiturate overdose while staying at Samarkand Hotel in London. It’s worth noting that the days and hours leading up to his death are disputed.
Jimi Hendrix was 27 years old when he died. 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of his passing.
FINAL RESTING PLACE
Jimi was buried at Greenwood Memorial Park in his home state of Washington, where his mother is also interred. In 2002, his body was exhumed from its simple grave and re-interred under a cenotaph befitting of his legacy. Every year, thousands upon thousands of people visit his famous grave to pay their respects.
Jimi Hendrix's grave in Renton, Washington