Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was an American musician who gained prominence in the late 1960s with his group the Jimi Hendrix Experience and hits such as “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” MoPOP was originally conceived, in the early 1990s, as a museum dedicated to Hendrix’s life, legacy and career. This focus evolved and broadened over time, but Hendrix still remains a vital part of the museum, with a constant display presence and several thousand objects in the permanent collection.
Born in Seattle, Jimi Hendrix started playing guitar in his teens and by his early 20s was playing in R&B combos in the Nashville area and touring with prominent acts such as the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. By 1966, Hendrix had moved to New York City's Greenwich Village, and in September moved to London. Within nine months, Hendrix went from unknown guitar slinger to darling of the British pop charts. In August 1967, Hendrix returned to America for the Monterey Pop Festival, where he famously lit his guitar on fire and smashed it to pieces. For the following 3 years, he played hundreds of venues across a dozen countries, including his iconic performance in August 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Jimi Hendrix passed away suddenly on September 18, 1970 from a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol. He lived only 27 short years but has made an indelible mark on popular culture as one of the most influential electric guitarists of all time.