Legendary Performance of The Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix took the world of rock and roll to a whole new level by infusing feedback, distortion, and other pioneering guitar techniques into his playing. His performance of The Star Spangled Banner is legendary…
Jimi’s playing style was very unique in his day and that’s what made people take notice. From what I remember, no other guitar player up to that point had ever done anything quite like it. His early influences included B.B King, Robert Johnston, Muddy Waters, and other notable blues artists. As a youngster, he would sit at the end of his bed strumming a broom, because he didn’t have a guitar. His father finally bought him a used acoustic when he was about 16 years old. He got his first electric about a year later and used it to join a group called The Rocking Kings.
He enlisted in the army at 19 and had his father send him his guitar. Fellow serviceman and future bassist for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Billy Cox, heard Hendrix playing as he passed by an army club one night. He borrowed a bass guitar so they could jam together. Soon they were playing other army clubs on weekends.
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 2003, and Mitchell died in November 2008. ~Wikipedia~
After the army, Jimi worked for a time as a session player backing artists like Little Richard, Tina Turner, Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers.
In July 1966 while performing at the Caf‚ Wha? in Greenwich Village he met The Animals bass guitarist, Chas Chandler. Chas became Jimi’s manager and persuaded him to go to London. While there, Hendrix gave shows where Pete Townsend, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton were in the audience! These guitar elites were extremely impressed with what they heard and word quickly spread that “The Wild Man of Borneo” had arrived.
In 1989, Eric Clapton described what it was like the first time he heard Jimi Hendrix play guitar…
“He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn’t in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it … He walked off, and my life was never the same again.” ~Wikipedia~
“[Jimi] changed the whole sound of electric guitar and turned the rock world upside down.” ~Wikipedia~
The Star Spangled Banner is one of the most iconic classic rock songs of the 60s. Hendrix performed it at the end of the Woodstock Festival in 1969 during the peak of anti-Vietnam War protests in the USA. He uses his guitar to create the effect of rockets and missiles exploding like they would in a real fire fight.
Al Aronowitz, pop critic of The New York Post wrote…
“It was the most electrifying moment of Woodstock, and it was probably the single greatest moment of the sixties.” ~Wikipedia~
My brother was drafted into the army and happened to be in the jungles of Chu Lai Province at the time. I always remember that whenever I hear this song. Jimi’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner reminds me of the cost of war and helps me appreciate those who have given their lives for the freedom I enjoy.
Rolling Stone magazine places Jimi Hendrix #1 in their list of 100 greatest guitar players and his Woodstock rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the #1 pick in 2011 for Guitar Worlds list of his 100 greatest performances. Some of the reasons are obvious… His playing was effortless. He was an innovator. He created his own style. He was a natural. It’s unrealistic to compare his playing ability with others since we have no way of knowing what he might have done as a guitar player had he survived the 60s. However, one thing is for sure… Hendrix has had a profound influence on guitar players all over the globe and he is a true legend in the history of Rock and Roll.
Learn to Play The Star Spangled Banner On Guitar: