There have been few musicians in history like Jimi Hendrix. Some people are just naturals. You can usually see it happen from a young age. That’s certainly true of Hendrix, who was so attached to his guitar that he slept with it. Stories told about him remind me of the young Mozart, and in Becoming Jimi Hendrix you’ll find many of them. Like the way he learned to play the guitar upside-down with his right hand because his father was prejudiced against left-handed people (which Hendrix was). How he seldom followed the beaten track and always pursued the creative and different, which didn’t always work well in the roles he was given in life, like the army, where he fit about like a semi in a suitcase, or while working as a side guitarist, where the weird sounds he produced on the guitar lost him more than one job. This is about the young Hendrix, born Johnny Allen Hendrix, his formative years in Seattle, and how he became what he became.
The story of the young Hendrix and how he became himself
Hendrix spent years performing in Nashville dives, road-showing with bands that often didn’t appreciate his talents, moving from town to town. In New York he linked up with the Isley Brothers and would spend several years off and on recording and touring with them and others. What it came down to was that Hendrix wasn’t made to be someone else’s support man. As he put it, “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice.” He’s now famous, of course, for doing just that. Becoming Jimi Hendrix is the story of how he got to the point where he could, the story of the hard and uncertain times before he was recognized, appreciated, and famous. Lots of old photos, including one of Hendrix at age four and one Army photo. (Hendrix in uniform? The mind boggles.) A page-turner, a revealing life story of a man who has been called the greatest electric guitarist in the history of music.