Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington. He taught himself to play guitar by listening to recordings of Muddy Waters, Riley B. (“B. B.”) King, and Charles Edward Anderson (“Chuck”) Berry. After serving as a paratrooper in the army, he began his music career. Under the name Jimmy James, he played as a backup guitarist for many top rock-and-roll and Rhythm and Blues artists, including Little Richard, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, and the Isley Brothers. From 1962 to 1964, Hendrix began to captivate audiences with guitar tricks such as playing with his teeth, behind his back, and between his legs.
Aspiring to move out of the background, Hendrix formed a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1965 and played coffeehouses in New York s Greenwich Village where he was influenced ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.