US Stamps

Born Nov. 27: Jimi Hendrix

May 4, 2021, 2 AM
Jimi Hendrix became a rock music icon in the 1960s; he was honored on a forever stamp issued March 13, 2014.

By Michael Baadke

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born Nov. 27, 1942, in Seattle, Wash. His parents legally changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix when he was four, and he became "Jimi" as a professional musician around 1966.

Noticing his son's interest in music and guitars, "Al" Hendrix bought Jimi a second-hand guitar for $5 in 1958, and Jimi joined a band named The Velvetones. His first electric guitar was also a gift from his father: it was a Supro Ozark 1560S.

After a stint in the Army as a member of the 101st Airborne Division — the Screaming Eagles — Hendrix began working as a guitarist in clubs, later joining backup bands supporting the Isley Brothers, Little Richard and others.

Moving to England in the mid 1960s, he formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience with two British musicians, bassist Noel Redding and jazz drummer Mitch Mitchell. The band recorded the hit singles Hey Joe and Purple Haze (the latter written by Hendrix), issued the debut album Are You Experienced, and transfixed the crowds at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

The Experience toured and recorded two more albums before dissolving. Having achieved worldwide fame, Hendrix headlined at the 1969 Woodstock music and art fair in Sullivan County, N.Y. He continued to tour with various musicians in the United States and Europe, but died in London Sept. 18, 1970, following an overdose of barbiturates.

Rolling Stone named Jimi Hendrix number one on its list of the all-time greatest guitarists. He was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, the same year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Are You Experienced was chosen in 2005 as one of 50 recordings added to the United States National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress.

The forever stamp honoring Jimi Hendrix (Scott 4880) was issued March 13, 2014, in the Music Icons commemorative series.