2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the world’s legendary rock and blues guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. He died on September 18, 1970, when the autopsy showed that Jim Hendrix died of asphyxia (decreased oxygen levels in the body) due to an overdose of Vesparax (a sleeping pill).
From the statement of Monika Dannemann, someone who was with Jimi Hendrix on the day of his death said that Jimi Hendrix took 9 Vesparax pills. The dose is 18 times the doctor’s recommendation, which only recommends taking half a pill.
Jimi Hendrix was then buried in Greenwood Cemetery near Renton, Washington, United States, which is the location of his mother’s funeral. More than 200 people attended Jimi Hendrix’s funeral, including the likes of John Hammond, Johnny Winter, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, and Miles Davis.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s departure, Supermusic has summarized 10 unique facts about this man whose full name is Johnny Allen Hendrix.
Jimi Hendrix and the United States Army
The first interesting fact about Jimi Hendrix is that he once joined the United States Army. This started when he was not yet 18 years old, Jimi Hendrix was arrested twice by the police for driving a stolen car.
Then, Jimi Hendrix was given the choice of going to prison or joining the United States Army (U.S Army). Jimi Hendrix underwent eight weeks of basic training in the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell.
In a letter that Jimi Hendrix gave to his father, he asked to have his guitar sent to training camp. There he met Billy Cox, who saw his guitar playing. Cox then borrowed an acoustic bass and played with Jimi Hendrix in club boot camp with other musicians.
After eight months, Jimi Hendrix has finally completed his parachuting training. Shortly thereafter, however, his platoon sergeant, James C. Spears honorably discharged him by writing a report that Jimi Hendrix did not meet soldier’s standards.
Jimi Hendrix Left-handed Guitarist
Jimi Hendrix is considered one of the greatest guitarists in the world not only because of his abilities, but also his uniqueness in playing the guitar. Jimi Hendrix is a left-handed guitar player and many think that Jimi plays it backward.
But in reality, Jimi Hendrix stringed his guitar like a left-handed guitar with the low E on the top and the high E on the bottom. It’s this very unique setup that gives Jimi Hendrix that great sound when playing his guitar.
Jimi Hendrix was also known to be able to play the guitar with his teeth. This technique was obtained when one of the blues guitarists, Butch Snipes, played the guitar with his teeth.
Read also: The Best Blues Guitarists of All Time
“He could play in styles that you could previously imagine. He could play tricks like playing the guitar with his teeth and behind his back,” said Eric Clapton when he saw Jimi Hendrix play for the first time in 1966.
Jimi Hendrix Was Kidnapped After a Stage
In a book entitled Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix, written by Charles R. Cross, it is told that Jimi was kidnapped after performing at the Greenwich Village club, The Salvation.
He goes out with a stranger to find cocaine but ends up being held hostage in a Manhattan apartment. Jimi Hendrix’s kidnappers demand that Jimi’s manager, Michael Jeffery, hand over Jimi’s contract in exchange for his release. Instead of agreeing to a ransom, Jeffery hires his own thugs to find him. The kidnappers. Surprisingly, Jimi was found two days later unharmed,” Cross wrote.
“This incident was so strange that Noel Redding (bassist at the Jimi Hendrix Experience) suspected that Jeffery had orchestrated the kidnapping to prevent Hendrix from finding another manager. While others argued that the kidnapping did happen.”
Jimi Hendrix Can’t Read Music
Jimi Hendrix is known as a self-taught musician who, where at first could not read music at all. In fact, he uses words or even colors to express himself by learning to play the guitar by ear.
Jimi Hendrix Becomes Highest Paid Musician at Woodstock Festival
On August 18, 1969, Jimi Hendrix performed at the Woodstock Music Festival at 9 a.m. He played a non-stop set that lasted nearly two hours, during which it became the longest show of his career and the only show he ever played other than at night.
Not without reason the event took place in the morning. Technical and weather problems kept the festival running late the previous day. The audience who attended also decreased from 500 thousand people to less than 200 thousand people on Monday morning when Jimi Hendrix appeared.
Jimi Hendrix had been cleared the previous midnight, but he chose to still perform in the morning. This step made him get paid more than other musicians, which amounted to 125 thousand US dollars.
Tributes to Jimi Hendrix Came from All Over the World
As a famous and famous musician and guitarist of his time, Jimi Hendrix’s departure was a big loss for the world of music. It’s no wonder that decades later, tributes to the late Jimi Hendrix are still pouring in from all over the world.
Jimi Hendrix’s London residence from 1968-1969 was restored in 2016 and built exactly as he lived there and then opened as a museum. In 2018, Congressman Adam Smith of Washington was instrumental in passing a bill to rename the post office in Seattle Renton the James Marshall ‘Jimi Hendrix’ Post Office.
Then Microsoft co-founder and fellow Seattle native Paul Allen, who is a Jimi Hendrix fan teamed up with Jimi’s father, Al Hendrix, to open a museum in Seattle dedicated to Jimi Hendrix.
There was a dispute between Jimi’s father and Allen when the museum grew into a much more magnificent and innovative Experience Music Project. The place is now known as the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).