The Music History Project Podcast Remembers Jimi Hendrix

Elizabeth Dale

The Music History Project Podcast hosted by the team in NAMM’s Resource Center, recently released “Ep. 82 – Remembering Jimi Hendrix” to honor the 50th anniversary since the rock legends passing.

American musician and songwriter James “Jimi” Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. Hendrix started playing guitar at age 15, influenced by greats like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Robert Johnson, and it wasn’t too long before he formed his first band, the Velvetones. After realizing that his acoustic guitar wasn’t capable of producing the sound he needed to be heard by audiences, Hendrix convinced his father to buy him his first electric guitar, a white Supro Ozark. After playing a few gigs, this guitar was stolen backstage, and Hendrix’s father replaced it with a Silvertone Danelectro.

Running into some trouble as a teen, Hendrix was given a choice by the courts to face time in prison or join the Army, so Hendrix enlisted at the age of 19 years old. After being shipped his beloved guitar to Fort Campbell, where Hendrix was stationed as part of the 101st Airborne, fellow serviceman Billy Cox heard Hendrix playing and described it as a mix between “John Lee Hooker and Beethoven.” The duo eventually formed a band with other service members named the Casuals.

After just a year in the Army, Hendrix was given an honorable discharge in the summer of 1962 and relocated to Clarksville, Tennessee, where he began pursuing music full-time. After spending time on the Chitlin’ Circuit, a variety of venues associated with the Theater Owners’ Booking Association, Hendrix landed an audition with Ronnie Isley where he began his tenure with the Isley Brothers’ back-up band. Hendrix went on to have a short but successful mainstream career. Spanning only four years, Hendrix is “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Music History Project Podcast utilizes the accounts of Hendrix’s colleagues and friends throughout the industry to tell his story. With commentary from hosts Dan Del Fiorentino, Michael Mullens, and Ashley Allison, the episode features content from Eddie Kramer, Billy Cox, Seymour Duncan, Mike Finnigan, Tony Louscher, and Stuart Spector. Mullens said, “The best part of this episode is hearing from all sides of Jimi’s life. The people who played with him, industry colleagues, his recording engineer, and those who had the opportunity to see him live. I feel like I know what kind of person Jimi was after recording this episode and hearing all of the different impressions he left on people.”

Del Fiorentino affirms that sentiment, “This episode assembles segments of interviews from those who knew and worked with Jimi as well as those influenced by him, all of whom are related to the music products industry. As a result, stories and perspectives are shared within this episode that you may not have heard before. This is an episode that shouldn’t be missed.”

More episodes of The Music History Project are available at https://www.namm.org/library/podcast and anywhere you listen to podcasts.