Synopses & Reviews
Becoming Jimi Hendrix traces “Jimmy’s” early musical roots, from a harrowing, hand-to-mouth upbringing in a poverty-stricken, broken Seattle home to his early discovery of the blues to his stint as a reluctant recruit of the 101st Airborne who was magnetically drawn to the rhythm and blues scene in Nashville. As a sideman, Hendrix played with the likes of Little Richard, Ike and Tina Turner, the Isley Brothers, and Sam & Dave—but none knew what to make of his spotlight-stealing rock guitar experimentation, the likes of which had never been heard before. From 1962 to 1966, on the rough and tumble club circuit, Hendrix learned to please a crowd, deal with racism, and navigate shady music industry characters, all while evolving his own astonishing style. Finally, in New York’s Greenwich Village, two key women helped him survive, and his discovery in a tiny basement club in 1966 led to Hendrix instantly being heralded as a major act in Europe before he returned to America, appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival, and entered the pantheon of rock’s greatest musicians. Becoming Jimi Hendrix is based on over one hundred interviews with those who knew Hendrix best during his lean years, more than half of whom have never spoken about him on the record. Utilizing court transcripts, FBI files, private letters, unpublished photos, and U.S. Army documents, this is the story of a young musician who overcame enormous odds, a past that drove him to outbursts of violence, and terrible professional and personal decisions that complicated his life before his untimely demise.
Before he was famous, by 1966, Jimi Hendrix had performed with Little Richard, Ike and Tina Turner, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, and the Isley Brothers. Hed won the Apollo Theaters famous Amateur Night competition. Blues legends B.B. King and Albert King had tutored him.
Becoming Jimi Hendrix is about the man who was consumed by his passion for music, practicing day and night, but who endured harsh criticism and frequent rejection by band leaders intolerant of guitar feedback from a shy yet cocky kid trying to steal their spotlight.
From 1962 to 1966, Hendrix learned to please a crowd, dress like a star, and survive some of showbizs shadier characters. This is the formative journey of one of the worlds greatest guitar players before fame, before London.
A revealing look at the formative period in which the legendary guitarist developed his playing style on the chitlin circuit” before finding superstardom
The first in-depth biography of the formative years of the greatest electric guitarist of all time, with 25 rare photos, complete sessionography, and tour itinerary
About the Author
Steve Roby is the author of Black Gold: The Lost Archives of Jimi Hendrix, former editor of Experience Hendrix magazine, and teaches a course on Hendrix’s life and music.
Brad Schreiber is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and literary consultant. His books include Stop the Show!, What Are You Laughing At, and Death in Paradise.