Jimi Hendrix is considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music by other musicians and many critics. Hendrix got his start in Europe and achieved fame in the U.S. following his legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, where he burned his guitar as the grand finale. After Monterey, Hendrix played and recorded worldwide until his death in September 1970.
In the early days, Hendrix played with a variety of different musicians under different names. Early in 1966—under the management of Chas Chandler—he formed a new band: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, which included English musicians Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. The Experience released its first album, Are You Experienced, on May 12, 1967; the only thing that kept it from reaching #1 on the charts was The Beatles’ release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1. Following Monterey, The Experience played a number of concerts at The Fillmore, Golden Gate Park, and the Whisky A Go Go. In 1967 and 68, the Experience released two more albums, Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland. The last performance as the Experience was on June 29, 1969 at the Denver Pop Festival, where police fired tear gas into the crowd as the band played Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). The band escaped from the venue in the back of a rental truck, and the next day, Noel Redding announced that he quit.
After Redding's departure, Hendrix recruited Billy Cox—an old army buddy—to play bass. The combination of Hendrix, Cox, and Mitchell, along with rhythm guitarist Larry Lee and two percussionists, played at Woodstock under the new name, “Band of Gypsies,” in a legendary two-hour set that climaxed with Hendrix’s highly regarded solo of The Star Spangled Banner. This extended lineup did not last long, and soon it was Hendrix, Cox, and drummer Buddy Miles who recorded and played as the Band of Gypsies.
Hendrix played his final performance on September 6, 1970 at the Isle of Fehmarn Festival in Germany where he was booed by fans for his failure to appear the night before. Cox quit the tour and headed home, and Hendrix stayed behind in Europe. On September 18, 1970 Hendrix died in London.
Hendrix was the winner of many of the most prestigious rock music awards, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Native American Music Hall of Fame. He has a star on Hollywood Boulevard and was listed as #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time.”