#SaturdayStamps: Jimi Hendrix

Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Hendrix displayed an innovative style that embraced the influences of rock, R&B, modern jazz and the blues, inspiring musical artists of his era and beyond.

Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, WA, Nov. 27, 1942. Originally named Johnny Allen Hendrix, his name was later changed by his father to James Marshall Hendrix. Entirely self-taught, he had to adjust his first right-handed guitar to his left-handed playing; he restrung it upside down and turned the instrument around to play it. The teenager soon began playing with bands in the Seattle area.

Hendrix pushed the boundaries of what a guitar could do, using a basic setup that at times included a wah-wah pedal to control the output from the amplifier to produce voice-like tones; a fuzz-box to create distortion of the sound; and a Univibe, a phaser that created regular, pulsating changes of pitch, all channeled through a set of Marshall amplifiers at top volume. He was able to manipulate the various devices to produce sounds that could be loud — the quintessential psychedelic music — or melodic and gentle. A master at the controlled use of distortion and feedback, he expanded the instrument’s vocabulary in a way that had never been heard before — or since.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked Hendrix No. 1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and No. 6 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In 1991, Hendrix received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1993, he was awarded a posthumous Grammy for lifetime achievement.

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