Jimi Hendrix at 70: Rock Stars Remember the Late Guitar Legend
Had he lived, Jimi Hendrix would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. The legendary musician single-handedly revolutionized the electric guitar during the late 1960s. His incredibly inventive and dexterous playing, mixed with his effects experimentation, charismatic stage persona, and flamboyant style helped make him one of the most revered and influential rock artists of all time.
Hendrix only released three studio albums while he was alive, but those records continue to inspire and challenge listeners and musicians to this day. Sadly, he was only 27 when he died from asphyxiation.
In conjunction with Hendrix's milestone birthday, ABC News asked a variety of artists to share what Hendrix means to them:
The Doors' Robby Krieger: "[I] definitely thought he was the best. I think he's the best ever at singing and playing a guitar at the same time … The stuff he does while he's singing just blew me away."
The Monkees' Micky Dolenz on Hendrix opening up for The Monkees during one of their tours: "Our fans, at that time, were 12, 14 years old and we were in the wings, of course, watching Jimi play just in awe. It was obvious that we were watching a force of nature, but [singing] 'Purple Haze' [and the crowd would yell] 'We want Davy! We want The Monkees!' … So, I don't blame him for getting fed up."
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons: "Here was a guy that took his favorite guitar, the Fender Stratocaster, and was figuring out ways to do things that had never been done before. It was a remarkable period, which he brought forth. Thankfully, his recordings live on, and his memory is just as fresh and vital today as it seems like it ever was."
Peter Frampton: "He, in his way, reinvented the guitar. He made it more into a gymnasium … and just put the notes in different places … And, as inspirational as Eric [Clapton] has been to us all, Jimi, in a slightly different way, was too, and still is."
Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes: "I don't like saying who's the greatest guitar player, because it's not about that, but when they do these [lists] and put Jimi at the top, I don't know anybody that could argue with that … He changed [music] for the better and when you listen to what he did and how he went about it, it was so groundbreaking and refreshing."
Neil Young & Crazy Horse guitarist Poncho Sampedro: "I could say my number-one favorite band is Jimi Hendrix, and number-two is Jimi Hendrix and number-three is Jimi Hendrix … When you listen to his music … if you really start breaking down the lines and all that … he really wasn't playing things that were that difficult. But, all in all, just his sound, his moves, his lyrics … his whole thing was really something special. And when you put it all together, no one's come close to it yet."