The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix Experience in Fenklup.png
The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing for Dutch television in 1967. From left to right: Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell.
Background information
Origin London, United Kingdom
Years active 1966–1970
Labels Track (United Kingdom)
Reprise (North America)
Polydor (Europe)
Barclay (France)
MCA (post-breakup)
Associated acts Gypsy Sun and Rainbows
Past members Jimi Hendrix
Noel Redding
Mitch Mitchell
Billy Cox

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an American-English rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969. During this time they released three studio albums. After Redding left the band in mid-1969, Hendrix and Mitchell continued to work together on other projects. The Experience reformed in 1970, with Billy Cox on bass, until Hendrix's death in September. Redding died in May 2003,[6] and Mitchell died in November 2008.[7]

Hugely influential in the development of the hard rock, psychedelic rock[8] and heavy metal music genres during the late 1960s and beyond, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was best known for the skill, style and charisma of their frontman, Hendrix, who has since been called one of the greatest guitarists of all time by various music publications and writers. All three of the band's studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968), were featured in the top 100 of the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at positions 15, 82 and 54 respectively. In 1992, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Jimi Hendrix arrived in England on September 24, 1966 and,[9] with his new manager and former Animals bassist, Chas Chandler, formed a backing band with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.[10] Mitchell was a seasoned London drummer formerly with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames who brought jazz chops and a lead style[clarification needed] of playing to the band. Hendrix chose Redding because of his attitude towards music and his hairstyle and Redding, who was a guitar player until that time, played bass in the band. The name "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" was coined by their business manager Michael Jeffery.[11] The first official appearance of "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" (invited by French singer Johnny Hallyday) was at the Novelty in Évreux, France, on October 13, 1966.[12] Six days later the band played their first UK gig at a private showcase at the Scotch of St James.[citation needed]

Publicity photo of the band in 1968

Though conceived as back-up band for Hendrix, the Experience, as a unit, gained fame and critical acclaim. Following the lead of Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was one of the first groups to popularize the "power trio" format, which limited a rock band's line-up to guitar, bass and drums.[13] This smaller format encouraged a more extroverted performance style, often at very high volumes. In the case of the Experience, Hendrix combined lead and rhythm guitar styles and used special effects to modify his guitar sound such as feedback, and later the wah-wah pedal, to an unprecedented degree. Mitchell played hard-hitting jazz-influenced grooves that often served a melodic role as much as they did timekeeping. Redding played deceptively simple bass lines that helped to anchor the band's sound. Visually, they set the trend in psychedelic clothes and, following his band-mates' Bob Dylan 1966-style hairdos, Mitchell got himself a permed copy. On January 11, 1967, the band appeared at The Bag O'Nails nightclub in London. In attendance that night were John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Brian Epstein, Lulu, the Hollies, Small Faces, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Donovan, Georgie Fame, Denny Laine, Terry Reid, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton, who rarely missed any of Hendrix's London gigs. Townshend admitted, "[Jimi] changed the whole sound of electric guitar and turned the rock world upside down". Clapton agreed: "after Pete Townshend and I went to see him play, I thought that was it, the game was up for all of us, we may as well pack it in."[14] The group came to prominence in the US only after the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival,[15] one of the first major rock music festivals.[10] The band's performance ended with Hendrix famously setting his psychedelically painted Fender Stratocaster on fire.[16] After the festival they were asked to go on tour with the Monkees. They joined the tour on July 8, 1967, in Jacksonville, Florida, the second act on a three-band bill, opened by Lynne Randell. Less than two weeks later, and after only a handful of engagements, they left the tour, reportedly frustrated by audience response. The last Hendrix/Monkees concert was performed at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York – Chas Chandler later said that it was all a publicity stunt.[17]

The cover of the US edition of Are You Experienced by graphic designer Karl Ferris

With the Experience, Hendrix recorded his five hit singles "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze",[15] "The Wind Cries Mary", "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" and "All Along the Watchtower", and his three most successful albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland. By April 1969, however, the band was beginning to splinter. Hendrix's deteriorating relations with Redding were coming to a head, and Hendrix also felt his musical development was hampered by the trio format. Hendrix had also begun to experiment with depressants and psychedelic drugs. He was prone to mood swings, which created conflicts within the band.[18] The original group held together long enough to fulfill their existing engagements, culminating in the Denver Pop Festival on June 29, 1969. From the stage, Hendrix announced, "This is the last gig we'll be playing together".[citation needed] The original Experience was dissolved.

Hendrix and Mitchell experimented with a larger band line-up known as Gypsy Sun and Rainbows for the Woodstock concert in August 1969, but the line-up quickly split and Hendrix reverted to the trio format with the Band of Gypsys. By 1970, Hendrix had disbanded the Band of Gypsys, and Michael Jeffery (now Hendrix's only manager) called Redding and Mitchell about reforming the Experience. Both agreed to participate in a tour. Hendrix was open to having Mitchell rejoin, but reluctant to bring Redding back into the fold.

Poster for a concert at the IMA Auditorium, Flint, Michigan, 1968

In early February 1970, Jeffery set up an interview with Rolling Stone magazine to announce the return of the group, published on March 19, 1970 in Rolling Stone as "J.H.: The End of a Beginning Maybe". Redding waited for weeks to hear back about rehearsals for the upcoming tour, and when he finally spoke with Mitchell's girlfriend, he learned that he had been replaced by Billy Cox. Before it started, Hendrix "called this tour The Cry of Love, because that's what it is" in an interview; this is the only mention of that name, prior to the posthumous LP of that name (1971), and the group itself was still referred to in all ads, articles, promos, bookings, and introductions as the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" or just "Jimi Hendrix".[citation needed] After a break of nearly ten months (during which he only played six dates) the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" hit the road for one last tour. Hendrix felt the band should stay in America and record for the next LP, while Mike Jeffery wanted a tour of Europe. Hendrix had a cold, was not getting rest, and was still affected by the change of climate. His disdain for the management and his financial situation accumulated stress, and by the European leg it was evident Hendrix was unhappy and unfit to tour.[citation needed] Mitchell reported that Hendrix was not even doing sound checks before the performances.[citation needed]

During a break in the tour later that year, Hendrix died on September 18, 1970, in controversial circumstances.[10] In 1992, the Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[9]

Noel Redding was found dead in his home in Ireland on May 11, 2003.[19]

While touring in the US, Mitch Mitchell was found dead on November 12, 2008 in his room at the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon.[20]




1. ^ As well as his regular position on lead vocals and guitar, Jimi Hendrix also played bass on Electric Ladyland; backing vocals on "Foxy Lady", "She's So Fine", and "Long Hot Summer Night"; piano on "Are You Experienced?", "Spanish Castle Magic" and "Crosstown Traffic"; glockenspiel on "Little Wing"; flute on "If 6 Was 9"; harpsichord on "Bold as Love" and "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"; mellotron on "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"; and percussion on "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)".
2. ^ As well as his regular position on bass and backing vocals, Noel Redding also played electric guitar and acoustic guitar on "Little Miss Strange" and lead vocals on "She's So Fine" and "Little Miss Strange".


  • Lawrence, Sharon (2005). Jimi Hendrix: The Intimate Story of a Betrayed Musical Legend (2006 ed.). New York, N.Y.: Harper. ISBN 0-06-056301-X. 


  1. ^ "Noel Redding, 57; Bass Guitarist in Jimi Hendrix Band". Los Angeles Times. May 14, 2003. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ Issitt, Micah L. (2009). Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture. Greenwood Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-313-36572-0. 
  3. ^ Marten, Neville (2007). Guitar Heaven: The Most Famous Guitars to Electrify Our World. Collins Design. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-06-135944-6. Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were both three-piece blues-rock bands but, whereas Clapton with his Gibson SG or ES-335 made huge, dark, distorted tones, Hendrix's Strat was generally cleaner and sweeter. 
  4. ^ Potash, Chris, ed. (1996). The Jimi Hendrix Companion: Three Decades of Commentary. Schirmer Books. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-02864-609-1. With drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding [Jimi Hendrix] formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They were the first of the super high energy bands — the epitome of acid rock. 
  5. ^ Christopher Knowles (1 October 2010). The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll. Simon and Schuster. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-57344-564-1. 
  6. ^ "Hendrix bassist dies". BBC News. 13 May 2003. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Hamilton, Ross William (12 November 2008). "". Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. 
  8. ^ Whiteley, Sheila. "Progressive Rock and Psychedelic Coding in the Work of Jimi Hendrix". Popular Music. 9 (1): 37–60. doi:10.1017/s026114300000372x. 
  9. ^ a b "The Jimi Hendrix Experience". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  10. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie; Westergaard, Sean. "Jimi Hendrix > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  11. ^ Lawrence 2005, p. 56
  12. ^ "index main template". Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  13. ^ Saunders, William (2010) Jimi Hendrix London Roaring Forties Press ISBN 978-0-9843165-1-9
  14. ^ '3 is the Magic Number' by Matt Snow for Mojo Magazine (Nov 2006), pp. 81–82
  15. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 – String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  16. ^ Lawrence 2005, p. 78
  17. ^ Lawrence 2005, p. 84
  18. ^ Mitch Mitchell and John Platt, the Hendrix Experience,(London: Hamlyn, 1990), pp. 88–96, 48–149.
  19. ^ Vintage Amps Bulletin Board • View topic – Hendrix Bassist Noel Redding Dead At 57
  20. ^ Jimi Hendrix drummer dies at 61 just days after tribute tour. Daily Mail. Retrieved June 16, 2012
  21. ^ Griffith, Mark (February 19, 2009). "The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Mitch Mitchell". Modern Drummer. 

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