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Today in History (1970): Jimi Hendrix dies of asphyxiation while intoxicated with barbiturates

Rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s run in the music industry may have been short at only four years, yet his legacy continues to live on in the decades that followed.

Jimi Hendrix. Photo via Okay Player

Jimi Hendrix, or Johnny Allen Hendrix, was born on Nov. 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington to parents Al Hendrix and Lucille Jeter. Jimi’s interest in playing the guitar began to manifest at an early age, with him said to be habitually carrying around a broom as if it were a guitar. When young Jimi acquired his first instruments – at first, a one-stringed ukulele and then his first acoustic guitar – he began to teach himself for hours to play songs by ear and through observing other more experienced musicians.

Jimi formed and joined a few bands as a teenager and was able to play at various venues. However, his fledgling career was cut short when he had to enter the Army in 1961 as a consequence of being caught riding in stolen cars by the authorities for the second time. He was discharged in June the following year.

Jimi Hendrix with The Isley Brothers. Photo via The Daily Pipe

The years following his stint at the Army saw Jimi steadily rebuilding his musical career both by performing on his own and for other bands. His early recordings were with artists such as the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, Curtis Knight and the Squires, and Lonnie Youngblood.

In 1966, Jimi’s eponymous three-man rock band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, was formed. By the following year, Jimi had reached international superstardom. The Experience was a success particularly in the UK and eventually the US, and was able to produce some of the best hits of all time such as “Purple Haze,” The Wind Cries Mary,” and “Fire.” But three years later, the Experience disbanded.

Jimi Hendrix and the Experience. Photo via The New York Times

By 1969, Jimi became the world’s highest paid rock musician and closed the historical Woodstock Musical Festival with his lineup called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, simply known as the Band of Gypsys.

Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys perform in front of thousands at Woodstock. Photo via Woodstock Wiki

The last two years of Jimi’s life continued to be successful although tumultuous, having been caught up in lawsuits and disputes with some of his band members and record companies, as well as having health problems.

Jimi passed away on this day in 1970 at a hotel in Notting Hill, England. Post-mortem examinations concluded that Jimi died after taking nine sleeping tablets, later on choking on his own vomit while intoxicated with barbiturates. As he was only 27 years old then, Jimi became also known to later generations as part of the 27 Club – a group of talented musicians who all died at that age due to one reason or another.

All information for this story were sourced from Wikipedia and All Music.

Like this article? Check out more stories from our Today in History and Throwback Thursday series.

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written by chooolss

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