The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience were a psychedelic rock band that formed in London in October 1966. Comprising eponymous singer-songwriter and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969, in which time the group released three successful studio albums. After Redding left the band, Hendrix and Mitchell stayed together through other projects. The Experience 'reunited' in 1970 with Billy Cox dubbed "The Cry of Love", until Hendrix's death in September 1970. Redding died in 2003, and Mitchell became the last original member of the band to die, in November 2008.

Widely recognised as hugely influential on the development of hard rock and heavy metal in the 1970s and beyond, The Experience were best known for the skill, style and charisma of frontman Hendrix, who has been noted as one of the greatest guitarists ever by various music publications and writers. All three of the band's studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968), were featured in the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at positions 15, 82 and 54. In 1992, The Jimi Hendrix Experience were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Contents

History

Jimi Hendrix arrived in England in September 1966[1] and with his new manager Chas Chandler formed a backing band with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.[2] Mitchell was a seasoned London drummer formerly with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames who brought Jazz chops and a lead style of playing to the band. He would prove to be Hendrix's most valuable musical partner. Redding was chosen because Hendrix liked his attitude towards music and hairstyle. It was the first time that he had ever played bass in a band, as he was a guitarist. The name "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" was coined by their business manager Mike Jeffery.[3]

Though initially conceived as Hendrix's backing band, The Experience soon became much more than that. Following the lead of Cream, they were one of the first groups to popularize the "power trio" format, which stripped a rock band line-up down to guitar, bass and drums. This smaller format also encouraged more extroverted playing from the band members, often at very high volumes. In the case of The Experience, Hendrix combined lead and rhythm guitar duties into one, while also making use of guitar effects such as feedback, and later the wah-wah pedal, to an extent that had never been heard before. Mitchell played hard-hitting jazz-influenced grooves that often served a melodic role as much as they did timekeeping. Redding played deceptively simple bass lines that helped to anchor the band's sound. Visually, they set the trend in psychedelic clothes and, following his band-mates' Bob Dylan 1966-style hair-dos, Mitchell got himself a permed copy. The group came to prominence in the US only after the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, one of the first major rock music festivals.[2] The band's performance ended with Hendrix famously setting his psychedelically painted Fender Stratocaster on fire.[4] After the festival they were asked to go on tour with The Monkees. They joined the tour on July 8, 1967 in Jacksonville, FL, the second act on a three-band bill, opened by The Sundowners. Less than two weeks later, and after only a handful of engagements, they left the tour, reportedly frustrated by audience response. The last Hendrix/Monkees concert was performed at Flushing Meadows in Queens, NY - Chas Chandler later said that it was all a publicity stunt.[5]

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