Jimi Hendrix was the greatest single rock star of it's era and remains so today. No one before or since has come close to his status but not until this American Masters profile has anyone done such an in depth biography on this iconic rock star who died over forty years ago. A 73 profile was decent enough with plenty of rock footage but it lacked the key interviews that AM provides in a career that ended at bad luck rock number 27. In addition to rock icons there are family members and lovers to present a unique artist in full both simple and complex. It also has a much shyer off stage Hendrix explaining his craft. Last and by far most we have the artist on stage blowing away the audience.
Having grown up in that era I had never heard a sound like his and from the response in the neighborhood, the country and among his peers (Clapton, Townsend, The Beatles etc.) the verdict was unanimous, he was a rock superstar that not only played guitar better and more outlandishly than anyone in the business but also had an outstanding blues/rock voice along with interpretive skills that made covers ( Hey Joe, All Along the Watchtower, Wild Thing) superior to the original as well as pen Blues masterpieces like Red House. The Jimi Hendrix experience for this teen if I may use the term was one awesome ride.
So it is better late than never in the true sense that American Masters pays tribute to American rock's most iconic symbol in an era that might draw new fans away from the mediocrity to be found in the industry these days consisting of rhyming simpletons who can't play a note, pole dancers and manufactured pop stars selected by committee. I realize we can't pass down our idols but the way Hendrix transcends time he is one of the few rockers well worth a look back at.
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