Which artist sang the song Little Wing?

50 years of Jimi Hendrix's debutThe orchestral guitar and its consequences for rock music

Uschi Obermeier: "Well, he was so cute, that was someone who is very shy, also speaks very softly. So just has a soul and was really such a lovely person, really."

A deafeningly loud guitar amp. 100 watts strong. Better 200. Or a couple of them right away. In front of it a shy black boy from Seattle with a white guitar: a Fender Stratocaster.

Marcel Thenee: "People like to say that again and again, but I think: Jimi Hendrix is ​​actually the inventor of the modern rock guitar, he was the first guitarist to redefine the boundaries of rock music and also to completely sound out the guitar."

An American becomes a superstar in England. An icon. One of the greatest musicians of all time. The father of the modern rock guitar.

Jimi Hendrix: "Chas Chandler, our producer, was certain - I didn't really know myself. After all, I had never sung for an album before."

"Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", "Foxy Lady", the magical "The Wind Cries Mary", "Little Wing". And. And. And. Psychedelic rock sound that opened ears and awareness. The soundtrack for the Summer of Love. Songs for the ages.

Music "Hey Joe"

John Allen Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942. His father Al renamed him James Marshall when Jimi was four years old and played the harmonica. The parents divorced, Jimi grew up with his father. At 13 he got an acoustic guitar, and soon afterwards an electric one. Like all young people at the time, he was fascinated by Little Richard and Elvis Presley, by rock 'n' roll. As early as the early 1960s, Hendrix played in various US blues, soul and rhythm & blues bands. For Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, the Supremes, among others. There he learned what is important as a guitarist in Soul & R'n'B: rhythm and the rhythmic accompaniment on the guitar. Nevertheless, he would later become famous, among other things, for perfectly blending rhythm and solo guitar play.

Music "Spanish Caste Magic"

The beginning

The revolution in rock music began when Chas Chandler, music producer and bassist for Animals, brought the quiet 23-year-old musician from the USA to swinging London. On September 21, 1966, on a five day visa. In the British capital, Chandler brought Hendrix together with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell - and immediately into a studio. Marcel Thenee, deputy editor-in-chief of the guitar magazine:

"They then recorded an album called" Are you experienced "in no time at all, which was recorded on a very low budget, very pragmatic and still legendary in terms of sound, namely largely recorded live due to the low budget Energy and magic that songs like "Are you exeperienced" - that's the title track - both the guitar track and the drum tracks are played backwards in parts. "The American rock singer and guitarist Jimi Hendrix at his performance at the pop festival on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn in 1970. (picture-alliance / dpa)

Music "Are You Experienced"

"In the context of rock history, this is definitely a milestone, it is a benchmark that not only influenced legions of guitarists - then and now - but also made a significant impression on famous artists like Jeff Beck."

The first single was "Hey Joe". A song that Hendrix already had in his repertoire in America. At first Hendrix wasn't even sure whether the piece had potential.

Jimi Hendrix: "Chas Chandler, our producer, was certain - I didn't really know myself. After all, I had never sung for an album before."

Music "The Wind Cries Mary"
Music "Little Wing" - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Against Hendrix, guitar god Clapton looked old

Jimi Hendrix hit swinging London like a bomb - and the city was considered the world's cultural label. The top of pop music was gathered there, the Beatles, the Stones. "Clapton is god" was written on the walls - and guitar god Eric Clapton, like Jeff Beck and Pete Townsend from The Who, could hardly believe what Jimi Hendrix fired at his London shows: his guitar playing technique and his sound: the amplifier fully opened! Melodic playing at a deafening volume - until now there was, roughly speaking, rhythm and solo guitar in rock, the young American blended it perfectly - in the style of the old bluesers, he sang phrases that he answered on the guitar. In addition, the way he moved on stage, stroking the guitar, beating it, playing suggestively between the legs, behind the back or with his tongue.

Jimi Hendrix: "If you watch one of our shows every evening for a week, they are all different because the music touches us emotionally differently every evening."

Prototype rock star behavior!

At the beginning he was simply afraid:

Jimi Hendrix: "Oh, that was so hard for me at the beginning, I was so scared and didn't want to go on stage - I'd rather stay behind the curtain and play. When I got into the band, I knew three songs, I wanted to stay behind. And the other guitarists, they are all so much better - you always have to stick to it, always stick to it - that's how you can do it. "

Marcel Thenee: "There is a famous story: as part of a small club show, when he was a guest at Cream on the stage at Eric Clapton's, he made sure that Clapton went home and practiced again."

Hendrix swept them all off the stage; Clapton looked old against him. Cream bassist Jack Bruce later said, "When I heard Clapton play, I thought he was a master of his craft. But Jimi was a force of nature." They all played loud back then - but Jimi Hendrix was even louder: forearm on all controls on the amplifier, which were fully turned up with one arm movement to the right. The so-called "English setting": This is how the output stage of the amplifier reaches its limits, tubes distort. The amplifier contributes to the singing, lyrical guitar tone - with the volume of a fighter jet.

The American guitarist Jimi Hendrix performs on the last day (September 6th, 1970) of the three-day pop festival "Love and Peace" on the Baltic island of Fehmarn. (picture alliance / Dieter Klar) When it comes to the keyword "output stage distortion", guitarists look glorified to this day. In the aftermath of Hendrix's stint in London, a contest broke out over who should be the loudest - Pete Townsend of The Who lost his hearing. And by the way the market for guitar amplifiers got off the ground. The British drummer and electrician Jim Marshall - active since 1962 - played a truly, yes, reinforcing role and built up a world rock 'n' roll company as "Lord of Loud". Hendrix used several 200 watt and 100 watt amplifiers with a corresponding number of boxes. He also used the often resulting whistling of a feedback masterfully. To do this, you have to turn at the right angle to the amplifier at the right moment so that it feeds back - or stand directly in front of the amplifier.

Left-handed with guitar for right

Hendrix was left-handed and left-handed guitars were rare, so he started out with a right-handed guitar. That when he turned it over, the three thick strings were down and now required a completely different playing technique, that didn't bother him. Later he stretched the strings the right way round on his upside-down guitar and then grabbed the bass strings with his thumb from above, another quirk. He used unusual chords in rock that actually came from jazz, but avoided traditional fingering patterns. Hendrix understood the instrument so well that he only picked the notes that he really needed - so he could play many open strings, the sound remains open. 1967 was a coincidence! - the wah wah pedal has just hit the market. Of course Jimi used it. Not the first. But inimitable!

Music "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)"

Typical of Hendrix is ​​his two-part guitar: he played double stops, two-part licks and riffs, i.e. short phrases that sounded melodious. This influence continues to this day: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robin Trower, John Mayer - the list of his fans among guitarists is almost endless. Hendrix studied some of them particularly well: John Frusciante - once with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Good to hear in the song "Under The Bridge".

Music "Under The Bridge" (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Jimi Hendrix returned to the United States from England - as a superstar! Of course, people had heard of his success in Europe.

The second album

Seven months after the debut, "Axis: Bold As Love" was released. The British New Musical Express wrote:

"The next time you see a UFO with glistening blue flames tumbling down from the night sky, look carefully. It could be this traveler through time, space and sound - Jimi Hendrix."

Music "Exp"
Music "Up From The Skies"

Of course there were drugs, the whole scene was full, transcended traditional things. Marijuana, speed, coke, heroin. The summer of The American rock singer and guitarist Jimi Hendrix at the pop festival on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn in 1970. (picture alliance / dpa / photo: Dieter Klar / Wagenbach) love, the hippies didn't see him clean. This is exactly what "Axis: Bold As Love" sounds like. The world was turning psychedelic.

Jimi Hendrix: "My personal philosophy is: Music is part of my life, part of me. We want to put the audience in a hypnotic state, maybe even create an awakening experience. Every song should offer a solution in the end. Our songs continue to develop , we are little babies, if we let go of them they can walk on their own. "

Young man who liked the blues

In the seven months since his debut, Hendrix had grown incredibly, both as a songwriter and as a guitarist. Even with a gap of 50 years, the sound of the production and especially his guitar playing are impressive. When it comes to singing, he sounds a step further - although he was still a young man who liked the blues.

Music "If Six Was Nine"

In 1967 Hendrix was a guest in Germany, he played in the Offenbacher Stadthalle in front of an audience that had expected rather good beat music - the faces of some spectators seem rather shocked - the world was not yet ready for the rock revolution everywhere, although the Beatles and the Stones had done good preparatory work.

Jimi Hendrix: "It's nice to see how people enjoy the shows - if they are so freaking out it could have something to do with sex. Besides, they might not be able to scream all year round, so they let it all out at once."

"That'll bring you down a bit"

In an interview with Hessischer Rundfunk, the young rock star also explained his attitude towards typical American popular music:

Jimi Hendrix: "That might bring you down now, but in my opinion the Detroit sound is very artificial and commercial, it's a synthetic, electronically produced sound. That's not the sound of black people singing! It's so beautifully constructed that I can't feel anything at all - except maybe with the Isley Brothers and the Four Tops. The secret is maybe the great beat they add. A thousand tambourines, then a thousand violins, a thousand brass instruments. Then the vocals are doubled a thousand times or with Echos proves. It has a good beat and sounds good, but for me and other younger people it's just too artificial, too commercial. "

Limitless hype

Within a very short time Jimi Hendrix became a world star, the hype surrounding him was limitless. He played a lot of concerts at festivals: Monterey, Newport, Fehmarn, the Isle of Wright. In 1968 the third and last album was released during his lifetime: "Electric Ladyland". His appearance in Woodstock in 1969 is another legend - there he hacked the American national anthem into pieces, a clear statement against the Vietnam War.

Music "Star Spangled Banner"

Choking on vomit

Jimi Hendrix would have turned 75 on November 27, 2017. Would! But he died where his career began: in London. On September 18, 1970, his girlfriend at the time, Monika Dannemann, found him lifeless in their apartment. Hendrix, sleepy and exhausted, had consumed amphetamines, wine, and sleeping pills - a deadly mixture with two tuna sandwiches. The inventor of the modern rock guitar was dead. Choked on his vomit. He was only 27 years old - in this short life he changed the music world, developed it further and set standards. His work continues to have an impact today. Generations of guitarists have been influenced by him. After him came millions and millions, but very few fit in his footsteps: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai among them.

How would its development have continued? We don't know, died so early. All that remains are the pictures of the slim, shy boy - who found his refuge on the stage. Died at 27 - forever young!

Music "All Along The Watchtower"

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