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Jimi Hendrix’s 70th Birthday Commemorated

Jimi Hendrix
Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

Of all the 1960s rock legends who died when they were just 27 years old – Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, etc. – Jimi Hendrix is the one who would most likely still be blowing our minds today with new music. When he choked to death on his own vomit in London on Sept. 18, 1970, he left behind only three released albums – all classics. But in the 42 years since his death, there have been dozens of records featuring the countless hours of material he left unreleased. A lot of it is great. Jimi Hendrix would have turned 70 today.

Much is made of Hendrix’s tremendous and groundbreaking guitar playing. And rightfully so. There wasn’t a more innovative guitar player before him and there hasn’t been one since. But Hendrix was also an aural architect who helped shape some of the most technically awesome records ever made. Check out the array of studio tricks he (along with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer) used on ‘Axis: Bold as Love.’ They’re even more astounding on ‘Electric Ladyland.’ Very few albums reveal as much sonic depth during headphone listening.

Filtering traditional blues, rock and R&B music through a psychedelic filter, Hendrix’s vision of the ‘60s was way more expansive than most of his contemporaries. Only the Beatles and Bob Dylan were making music this exciting.

Since Hendrix’s death, there have been live albums, anthologies and a dozen albums featuring leftover studio material. No other artist left so much great music unissued. When he died, he was working on the follow-up to ‘Electric Ladyland.’ But because he was a perfectionist in the studio (he was always looking to create the next ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’), hundreds of songs, in various stages of completeness, stayed in the vaults. There’s no doubt that he was just getting started.

Next: Top 10 Hendrix Posthumous Albums

Watch Jimi Hendrix Perform ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’

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