Men You Wish You Were: Jimi Hendrix

Every month Primer Magazine is recognizing a different individual for their accomplishments, cultural significance, and general awesomeness. Since February is Black History Month we decided to step up the honors for the month recognizing a new subject once ever week. This week: Jimi Hendrix.

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Lead guitarist of The Who, Pete Townshend, said of Jimi Hendrix, “He made the electric guitar beautiful.”  In a time when music was revolutionary, Hendrix was the one-man revolution.  His weapon: an upside down right-handed Fender Stratocaster.  His ammunition: a kind of music that people hand never heard before.  Legions of his faithful followers can be found all over the world to this very day.

Hendrix, whose entire career spanned only eight years (1962-1970), took the popular blues guitar sound of the day and melded it with the new up-and-coming more experimental modern rock sound and created something that truly blew people away.

Early on in his career, Hendrix was invited to play with Eric Clapton’s band Cream for a number.  When he was finished Hendrix had already changed music (and Clapton) forever, and he was only just beginning.

A lot of people today don’t properly appreciate Hendrix.  They hear guys who play faster, louder, and know more music theory than Hendrix did and they say “he might have been a trail blazer, but these guys are masters.”  But what they don’t understand is just how original and amazing Hendrix was.  Townshend said it best, “I feel sad for people who have to judge Jimi Hendrix on the basis of recordings and film alone, because in the flesh he was so extraordinary.”

No one who came before him was anything like him and everyone after tried to be him.

Kevin MacLean

Kevin H. MacLean currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where he enjoys people watching, writing, and dominating all comers in four-square. You can keep tabs on him at his blog