There’s really no disputing it – Jimi Hendrix is a legend. He’s the legend. His awe-inspiring skill and boundless creativity revolutionized how people both listen to and create rock music. Although his career only lasted a handful of years, no other guitarist has left such a huge impact on the world. Fans and musicians are in agreement when it comes to Jimi – no one did it better than he did.
Jimi’s short but bright career ended with his death on September 18, 1970 at the young age of 27. In remembrance of his talent, we’ve gathered up a few quotes from his fellow musicians that prove just how influential and essential he was, both then and now.
“Jimi Hendrix is very important. He’s my idol. He sort of epitomizes, from his presentation on stage, the whole works of a rock star. There’s no way you can compare him. You either have the magic or you don’t. There’s no way you can work up to it. There’s nobody who can take his place.” — Freddie Mercury
“After months of playing air guitar to ‘Free Bird’, what really got me into guitar was watching a documentary about Jimi Hendrix and picking up the Woodstock soundtrack. Listening to his version of ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘Purple Haze.’ My brother played acoustic guitar and, idolising him, I thought, ‘I’m going to get a guitar.’” — Kirk Hammett
“The best thing I ever heard was in the ’60s. I heard Jimi Hendrix play ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ after a rehearsal, and it was brilliant.” — Roy Wood
“He played his own shit, he didn’t play nobody else’s stuff like they do now. Jimi was original.” — Albert Collins
“I started out playing guitar because Jimi Hendrix was my hero, so my roots were really based on Jimi Hendrix and his style of playing.” — Joe Satriani
“He was very self-effacing about his music but then when he picked up that guitar he was just a monster.” — Paul McCartney
“Everybody else just screwed it up, and thought wailing away is the answer. But it ain’t; you’ve got to be a Jimi to do that, you’ve got to be one of the special cats.” — Keith Richards
“They’re claiming that [the grunge bands] finally put Seattle on the map, but, like, what map? …I mean, we had Jimi Hendrix. Heck, what more do we want?” — Kurt Cobain
“Jimi Hendrix changed my life. Each generation influences the following one and as a consequence brings it back to the past.” — Robert Smith
“You never told me he was that fucking good.” — Eric Clapton, after first hearing Hendrix perform
Bonus non-musician quote:
“Pvt Hendrix plays a musical instrument during his off duty hours, or so he says. This is one of his faults, because his mind apparently cannot function while performing duties and thinking about his guitar.” — Sgt. Louis Hoekstra, in a report recommending Jimi’s discharge from the US Army
If you needed proof that Jimi Hendrix is a legend (and we doubt that you did), now you’ve got it. He might be gone, but his influence clearly lives on. Let us know in the comments which quote best encapsulates Jimi’s talent, or share one that we’ve missed.