Classic Rock News

Classic Rock News

Classic Rock News

Rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix (1942 - 1970) caught mid guitar-break during his performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, August 1970.

The life of a rockstar usually seems at least partially unbelievable compared to the average person’s time on this planet. It’s hard to believe that Jimi Hendrix was just 27 years old when he passed away, but man, he jammed some crazy stuff into that time. Below, I have compiled 7 things that happened to Jimi Hendrix that you won’t believe. I promise you: I researched and used tons of sources because I found the stuff hard to believe too.

Some quick hits on things you may know about Jimi: he released just three albums: hard to believe with the massive influence he has had on rock and roll.  Then there was that time Jimi toured with the Monkees. Jimi quit after seven shows.  His final show may (or may not) have ended with Jimi dropping his guitar and giving the crowd the middle finger.

Jimi Hendrix is arguably the best electric guitarist in the history of history.  He is widely considered one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century.  His performance at Woodstock had a huge musical and cultural impact.  Jimi found out 400,000 people showed up to Woodstock and didn’t want to play to a crowd that size.  That’s why he changed his set time to 8:00 am on Sunday morning.  He was an accidental, crazy genius.

Researching this article was fascinating.  I found letters that Jimi wrote to his dad while Jimi was in the Army. Videos of Jimi singing song lyrics wrong on purpose (you probably know which one)… Plus new insight into the age-old story of Jimi’s “Lost Weekend.”  I even found Jimi’s final interview given a week before his death.  Prepare to have your jaw drop a time or two:

7 Things That Happened to Jimi Hendrix That You Won’t Believe

  • Paul McCartney Got Jimi Hendrix Into The Monterey Pop Festival

    Jimi Hendrix was NOT immediately popular in the USA.  His performance at the Monterey Pop Festival changed that.  Paul McCartney was the one who recommended Jimi Hendrix play in the festival. Sir Paul even agreed to join the board of organizers for The Monterey Pop Festival on the condition that Jimi was a part of it.  Jimi’s performance, complete with the sacrificial burning of his guitar, boosted his image and presence here, in the states.

  • Jimi Hendrix Was Kidnapped for a "Lost Weekend"

    There are conflicting stories on this insane chain of events.  I’ve read that it was Jimi’s manager, Michael Jeffery, who set the kidnapping up so that he could look like a hero and “save” Jimi.  A recent story on paints a different picture. Based on Jon Roberts’ (mafioso and drug dealer from the ’60s) account of these events, Jon helped save Jimi after a couple of thugs took him and demanded his contract from Michael Jeffery as ransom.  Jon says Jimi was high the whole time and didn’t even know he’d been kidnapped.  While Jon Roberts may have a shady past, further research and interviews seem to point to Roberts’ account being accurate. The weekend is referred to as “The Lost Weekend” because Jimi had no idea he had been abducted.

  • Jimi Hendrix Joined The Army

    Not because he wanted to… Jimi was caught riding in stolen cars on two occasions around age 18.  He was given the choice of jail time or enlisting in the Army.  Jimi chose the Army but it was a rough fit.  Jimi asked his dad to send his guitar and his father did. Here’s an excerpt from one of the letters Jimi wrote to his dad while stationed in Kentucky:

    “I still have my guitar and amp and as long as I have that, no fool can keep me from living.”


  • Jimi Hendrix was "Scared to Death" by Muddy Waters

    Buddy Holly, B.B. King and Eddie Cochran are all musical influences Jimi has mentioned, but Muddy Waters was the first guitarist Jimi recalls hearing.  According to an article on, Jimi said, “The first guitarist I was aware of was Muddy Waters.  I heard one of his old records when I was a little boy and it scared me to death because I heard all these sounds.”

  • Jimi Played The Guitar Upside Down

    Jimi Hendrix was left-handed.  His solution to this was to flip the guitar over and reorder the strings.  (more on this at

    Jimi was also a self-taught musician.  He learned to play by ear. Jimi did not learn to read music.

    Jimi Hendrix performs

    Jimi Hendrix performs – photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • Jimi Was Well Aware of "'Scuse Me, While I Kiss This Guy"

    “Purple Haze” has one of the most historically noted misheard lyrics.  Jimi knew this.  In a 1967 interview with New Musical Express, Jimi mentions that “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky” was referring to a drowning man that Jimi saw in his dreams.  Jimi often sang the misheard lyrics at shows.  He sometimes followed it with a laugh or a fake makeout session.  Here’s a clip where Jimi intentionally sings the lyrics wrong and laughs.

  • Hendrix Played Backup Guitar Under The Names "Jimmy James" and "Maurice James"

    Jimi always wanted to be front and center, but it’s usually not the immediate path.  In his early days, Jimi played backup guitar for Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, and The Isley Brothers under the name “Jimmy James.”

    Maurice James was the name Jimi used when he toured with Little Richard.  In the book, The Life and Times of Little Richard, Richard’s brother and manager, Robert Penniman talks about the events, stating that Jimi (Maurice) was fired for being late and missing transports on the tour.  There he is!  See Jimi on the right?


  • Hendrix Final Interview: One Week Before His Death

    “I’m the one that has to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.” -Jimi Hendrix

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