Saturday, September 18, 2010

New generations experience Jimi Hendrix 40 years after his death

I recall being in Ban me Thuot, Vietnam, listening to Armed Forces radio when they announced Jimi’s death.

My friends and I were really bummed out and we held a Smoke-In at a Buddhist graveyard that night that was attended by most of the “Heads” in the 31st Eng Battalion. We played his hits on big old Boom Boxes and sang along with “Are you experienced.”

“So much of the musical legacy of Jimi Hendrix rests on memory of the legendary guitarist as the fluid, inventive musical maverick who burst on the scene in 1967 -- almost single-handedly defining the creative extravagance of the Summer of Love --or the legend who exited that scene three years later, dying in London on Sept. 18, 1970, at the age of 27.

This even-numbered anniversary year of his passing has already seen a flurry of previously unreleased music and images, and there's more to come before year's end, other opportunities to discover the Hendrix that existed before the world discovered him, the lean Seattle kid struggling to survive the critical formative years that helped make him what he would become, before his talents seemed to explode on the world fully formed.

"People think that he just...appeared one day," Janie Hendrix -- Jimi's stepsister, and president/CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC, the Hendrix family company -- said in 2003. "But he also had a history and a life, from birth to childhood to adolescence to adulthood." That year the Experience Music Project, a Seattle museum, joined forces with Experience Hendrix on an exhibition of Hendrix's early life and childhood.”

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