November 27, 1942: Johnny Allen Hendrix is born at 10:15 a.m. at Seattle’s King County Hospital. His mother is Lucille Jeter, 17. His father, James “Al” Hendrix, is in the U.S. Army, stationed in Camp Rucker, Alabama.
September 11, 1946: Al Hendrix, now out of the service, changes his son’s name to James Marshall Hendrix. Al will take primary responsibility for raising Jimi. “My dad was very strict and taught me that I must respect my elders always. I couldn’t speak unless I was spoken to first by grown-ups, so I’ve always been very quiet,” Hendrix said of his childhood.
September 1, 1957: Jimi Hendrix goes to see Elvis Presley perform at Sicks Stadium.
February 2, 1958: Jimi Hendrix’s mother dies.
Summer 1958: Jimi Hendrix’s father buys him a second-hand acoustic guitar. It costs five dollars. “Jimi told me about it [the guitar] and I said, ‘Okay,’ and gave him the money. He strummed away on that, working away all the time, any spare time he had,” said Al.
Summer 1959: Al Hendrix buys Jimi his first electric guitar, a Supro Ozark 1560 S. Jimi joins the Rocking Kings. “My first gig with them was at a National Guard armory. We earned like 35 cents apiece. We used to play stuff by people like the Coasters,” said Jimi.
Summer 1961: Jimi Hendrix enlists in the Army. Stationed at Fort Ord, California, he writes home: “The Army’s not too bad, so far. . . . All, I mean, all my hair’s cut off and I have to shave. . . I won’t be able to see you until two months from now. . . we’re going through basic training.”
November 1, 1961: Now stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Jimi Hendrix is training to become a paratrooper. Meanwhile, he forms a band, the King Kasuals, with a fellow soldier, Billy Cox.
July 2, 1962: After getting hurt during a jump, Jimi Hendrix gets an honorable discharge from the Army. Over the next three years, he will play numerous gigs and studio sessions with such R&B stars as Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner and Sam Cooke.
Spring 1964: Jimi Hendrix goes to New York and over the next several months, he will play with Little Richard, King Curtis, Joey Dee and the Starlighters and the Isley Brothers.
Spring 1966: Jimi Hendrix forms a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, which also includes guitarist Randy California, later of the group Spirit. They get a regular gig at Café Wha? in Greenwich Village.
September 24, 1966: Jimi Hendrix and Chas Chandler, former bassist with the Animals fly from New York to London. There, Hendrix will form a new band and Chandler will become the manager of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. En route, they decide to change the guitarist’s name from Jimmy to Jimi.
October 1, 1966: Hendrix jams with Cream at the Regent Polytechnic College.
October 6, 1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience holds its first rehearsal. The group features Jimi on guitar, Mitch Mitchell, formerly of Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames, on drums, and Noel Redding on bass. The following week, the Experience plays a four-day French tour supporting Johnny Hallyday.
October 23, 1966: The Jimi Hendrix: Experience records its first two songs, “Hey Joe” and “Stone Free” at London’s De Lane Lea Studios.
December 16, 1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience release “Hey Joe” in England. By February 1967, it reaches Number Four on the British charts. The next single, “Purple Haze,” reaches Number Three. The group’s debut album, Are You Experienced?, will remain near the top of the charts through the summer of 1967.
June 18, 1967: : Jimi Hendrix performs at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones introduces him as “the most exciting performer I’ve ever heard.” At the end of his performance, he burns his Fender Stratocaster. “The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice,” Jimi said. “You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar. I’d just finished painting it that day and was really into it.” Literally overnight, the Jimi Hendrix Experience become one of the most popular acts in rock music.
December 1, 1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience releases Axis: Bold as Love. The album, which is released in the U.S. in January 1968 includes such songs as “Little Wing,” “If 6 Was 9,” “Castles Made of Sand” and “Spanish Castle Magic.”
February 1, 1968: The Experience embarks on a major U.S. tour. The first show is at the Fillmore, in San Francisco. On February 12, Jimi Hendrix triumphantly returns to Seattle for a show at the Center Arena. Jimi’s family is seated in the front row.
October 25, 1968: Electric Ladyland, a double album recorded in the U.S. and England, is released. It becomes Hendrix’s first Number One album in the U.S. and includes such tracks as “Voodoo Child,” “Crosstown Traffic” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
June 29, 1969: The Jimi Hendrix Experience plays the final date on its last American tour at the Denver Pop Festival. At the height of its popularity, the original edition of the group breaks up.
August 18, 1969: Hendrix debuts a new band, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, at the Woodstock music festival in New York State. The group includes old friend Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Larry Lee on rhythm guitar and Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez on percussion. Jimi’s Monday morning performance closes the festival and his version of “The Star Spangled Banner” becomes the highlight of the festival.
December 31, 1969 - January 1, 1970: Band of Gypsys – a trio with Hendrix, Cox and drummer Buddy Miles – plays four concerts at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York. Graham calls the shows “the most brilliant, emotional display of virtuosic electric guitar playing I have ever heard.”
March 25, 1970: Band Of Gypsys is released and quickly becomes Jimi’s fifth consecutive Billboard Top Ten album. “Machine Gun” is hailed as one of the greatest achievements of his career.
April 25, 1970: Jimi Hendrix reforms the Experience with Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox and begins a US tour with an amazing performance at the Los Angeles Forum.
Summer 1970: The Experience spends time recording new material for a proposed double album First Rays of the New Rising Sun at Electric Lady Studios, the newly constructed, state of the art recording facility Jimi has developed. The group remains the top US touring act, headlining concerts at such major rock events as the New York and Atlanta Pop Festivals.
August 30, 1970: Hendrix performs at the Isle of Wight Festival in England before 600,000 people—the largest audience of his storied career.
September 6, 1970: The Experience perform what becomes Jimi’s final concert at the Love and Peace Festival held on Germany’s Isle Of Fehmarn.
September 18, 1970: Jimi Hendrix dies in his sleep at the Samarkand Hotel in London. He was 27.