From Mercury and Bowie to Homme and Bellamy
Andrew Trendell
11:01 12th May 2014

12 May, 2014: Today marks 47 years since The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their seminal debut album, Are You Experienced? Little did they know how it would change the face of rock, pop and culture for generations to come. 

It's a true tragedy that Hendrix only lived to the age of 27, and released just four albums during his short lifetime and career. Despite all of that, the reach of his influence can still be felt today - with his initimitable, voice, style, talent and passion continuing to inspire generation after generation of artists. 

From giants and legends like David Bowie, Robert Smith and Freddie Mercury to more modern game-changers like Matt Bellamy, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme, Hendrix continues to prove himself a muse. On the birthday of one of the greatest guitarists and showman of modern times, here are just 14 of the countless artists inspired by Jimi Hendrix.

From Mercury + Bowie to Homme + Bellamy

  • Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters: Ah Dave - drummer, guitarist, legend, Hendrix fan. He once told Rolling Stone: "Hendrix was a genius on fire...People had their asses blown out by Hendrix."

  • David Bowie: Flamboyant dress, classic licks, iconic stature - Bowie and Hendrix have plenty in common. Legend has it that Ziggy Stardust is partly based on Hendrix ("He played it left hand, but made it too far")

  • Nile Rodgers: One of the Chic icon and serial collaborator's most lasting and influential memories is the time he once got high on acid and jammed with Hendrix when he was just 16-years-old. It's the stuff that legend is made of.

  • Robert Smith, The Cure: Speaking to The Guardian in 2003, Smith said that the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced? is Smith's favourite hippy-era album: "Hendrix was the first person I had come across who seemed completely free, and when you're nine or 10, your life is entirely dominated by adults. So he represented this thing that I wanted to be. Hendrix was the first person who made me think it might be good to be a singer and a guitarist - before that I wanted to be a footballer."

  • Johnny Marr, The Smiths: Naturally, This Charming Man often appears alongside 'the most influential guitarists of all time' lists with Hendrix. When asked what it meant to be ranked alongside him by the Manchester Evening News, Marr replied: "I think that's amazing, it's incredible, but one of the ways you stick around is you just to try to be a good musician - I don't think anyone who I like did it to be an icon or to be called a genius or anything like that, they did it to try and be great at what they do. Jimi was super-talented naturally but you don't get to be that good just by rolling out of bed and crossing your fingers. So if I'm in that list at all then I'm very, very fortunate."

  • Lemmy, Motorhead: Before he became one of rock's most hard-living and long-lasting forefathers, Lemmy used to be a roadie for Jimi Hendrix. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine about his experience, he said: "When he performed, he was magic. You would watch him and space and time would stop...Fucking murder...But Jimi was a really nice guy. And very courteous. If a woman came into the room, he'd shoot to his feet and get a chair out for her. He was old fashioned like that. Good manners don't cost nothing."

  • Slash: The former Guns N' Roses axe king turned solo star had been exposed to Hendrix from a very young age. Speaking to The Quietus, he said: "I think the attraction with Jimi was just that he had this uninhibited, fluid guitar style that basically screamed. It had this over-the-top sound to it that just kind of drew me in. I think all of my favourite guitar players have a sort of manic quality to them."

  • Eric Clapton: A simple but classic quote that sums up the world's mindset - the first time that Clapton was taken to see Hendrix, he replied: "You didn't tell me he that THAT fucking good."

  • Freddie Mercury, Queen: Speaking to Circus Magazine in 1975, the Queen legend very righteously said: "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."

  • Steve Vai: Discussing his first encounter with Hendrix's music, the influential guitar hero told Music Radar: "It was like electric sugar, to borrow a phrase from Tom Waits. I was 12 years old or so, and I would lie there with the headphones on and listen to Jimi playing The Star Spangled Banner and Purple Haze over and over and over...It's all about artistic freedom. Jimi Hendrix really lived that, and whenever I hear his records, I still get those same goosebumps, that special kind of feeling that anything is possible."

  • Lenny Kravitz: The comparisons between Kravitz and Hendrix have never died, but just check out his covers of 'All Along The Watchtower' and 'Voodoo Child' and Kravitz' love and appreciation speaks volumes.

  • Matt Bellamy, Muse: Quite naturally, the most renowned axeman in modern rock was inspired by the original master. Speaking to NME in 2010, Bellamy said: "More than the songs, what changed my life was the freedom, the expression that (Hendrix) brought to the performance. There was a sense of wild, reckless danger...To me, Hendrix is not necessarily about melodies or chords, its about the energy he brings to it, the way that his whole psychedelic, crazy, slightly drugged-up personality bleeds through in what he's playing...it actually makes you think of the future."

  • Prince: Eccentric style, sweet sexy sounds and an inimitable mastery of the guitar - the Purple One is the true heir to Hendrix's throne.

  • Josh Homme, Queens Of The Stone Age: Speaking to Noisey series guitar moves about his biggest inspirations earlier this year, Homme said: "I grew up listening to early ZZ Top - those records blew my mind. And I listened to Hendrix first and to me Hendrix is the ultimate guitar player. To me there's two Jimmys: there's Jimi Hendrix and there's Jimmy Page."


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