Did Jimi Hendrix take Medicine?

Jimi Hendrix is broadly thought to be one of many best musicians of all time, along with his pioneering method to the guitar and his distinctive sound that blended rock, blues, and psychedelia. Few figures signify Nineteen Sixties America greater than he. Nevertheless, all through his life and profession, Hendrix additionally had a well-documented historical past of drug use, which has led to ongoing discussions and debates amongst followers and students concerning the position that medicine performed in his music and his legacy.

When Hendrix – maybe one of the best guitarist of all time – died in 1970, many frightened about his relationship with substances. However what’s the reality? And why does it matter? Let’s discover out. 

The Nineteen Sixties in America

The Nineteen Sixties is now seen as probably the most necessary many years within the final 100 years. A time the place civil liberties have been fought for, and ‘instances they have been a altering’. From the ashes of this unrest got here a counterculture of younger individuals who wished peace and love. After years of struggle and injustice, the brand new era believed that there was one other method of existence. The 60s actually was a interval of serious social, cultural, and political change. A number of the key occasions and actions that outlined the last decade embrace:

Civil Rights Motion

The Civil Rights Motion of the Nineteen Sixties was a battle for equal rights and alternatives for African People. It was marked by protests, marches, and acts of civil disobedience, such because the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery marches.

Vietnam Conflict

The Vietnam Conflict, which started within the Nineteen Fifties, continued into the Nineteen Sixties. It was a divisive difficulty, and protests towards the struggle grew more and more violent as the last decade progressed. Much less and fewer individuals may perceive the purpose within the feud, and this turned clearer and clearer as time went on.


The last decade noticed the assassinations of a number of outstanding figures, together with President John F. Kennedy, civil rights chief Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. This led to extra unrest, as key political figures have been murdered. 

Music & Medicine

Music and medicines have been on the forefront of a peaceable and loving counterculture. The likes of Dylan, Hendrix, the Beatles – all would sing to very large crowds of individuals (like Woodstock) and promote equality. Alongside this got here love for cannabis and new-found love for acid. LSD, having been first found by Albert Hoffman in 1938 in Switzerland, had been launched to the USA. Its mind-opening properties and reason for ego demise turned a logo of the Nineteen Sixties counterculture. Hendrix would have little doubt tried it himself. 

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is broadly thought to be probably the most influential and modern guitarists within the historical past of rock music. Born in Seattle, Washington in 1942, Hendrix started his musical profession within the early Nineteen Sixties, enjoying with a wide range of bands and dealing as a session musician earlier than embarking on a solo profession that will change the course of music perpetually. Hendrix’s distinctive method to the guitar, which mixed parts of blues, rock, and psychedelic music, was in contrast to something that had been heard earlier than.

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He was recognized for his virtuosic enjoying fashion, which included methods like suggestions, distortion, and wah-wah results, and his means to create complicated, layered soundscapes with only a guitar, a number of pedals, and an amplifier. In different phrases, he was a genius. Regardless of his comparatively brief profession (Hendrix died in 1970 on the age of 27), he actually left a mark on the music world, influencing numerous musicians and galvanizing a era of guitar gamers to push the boundaries of what was doable with the instrument. 

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Early Profession

Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix, however his father later modified his title to James Marshall Hendrix in honour of his late brother. From a younger age, Hendrix confirmed an curiosity in music, usually listening to his father’s data and tinkering along with his personal home made devices. As a young person, Hendrix started enjoying guitar in varied bands round Seattle. In 1961, he enlisted within the US Military and was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the place he continued to play guitar in his spare time.

After leaving the Military in 1962, Hendrix moved to Nashville, Tennessee, the place he started working as a session musician, enjoying on recordings for artists like Little Richard and the Isley Brothers. Nevertheless, he rapidly grew pissed off with the constraints of session work and determined to check out on his personal. In 1966, Hendrix moved to New York Metropolis and shaped the Jimi Hendrix Expertise. 

Rise to Fame

Hendrix’s breakthrough got here in 1967 with the discharge of his debut album, “Are You Skilled?,” which featured hit singles like “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze.” The album was a vital and industrial success, catapulting Hendrix to stardom and establishing him as probably the most modern musicians of his era. You can see, particularly with this album, that Hendrix was impressed by the world of medicine. Purple Haze is normally often called a pressure of cannabis. As well as, Tune Information writes:

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“The query “Are you skilled” was generally interpreted as Hendrix asking you probably have skilled medicine. He mentioned that this music was not essentially about medicine, however about being at peace with your self. Guitar, bass and drums have been all performed backward as a part of the consequences.”

It was evident from the aesthetic of Hendrix and his music that psychedelics meant one thing to him. Over the following few years, Hendrix launched a string of traditional albums and continued to tour extensively around the globe. Hendrix was recognized for his flamboyant stage presence, usually setting his guitar on fireplace or smashing it on the finish of a efficiency. He additionally turned an icon of the counterculture motion, along with his wild hair, vibrant clothes, and psychedelic vibes.

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Hendrix & Medicine

There isn’t any doubt that Hendrix used medicine all through his profession, and in some ways, his drug use is an important a part of his story. From his early days as a struggling musician in New York Metropolis to his meteoric rise to fame within the late Nineteen Sixties, Hendrix was recognized to experiment with a variety of gear, together with marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and heroin.

One of the important components that contributed to Hendrix’s drug use was the tradition of the time, as we’ve established. LSD and different substances have been nearly like a gateway to seeing differently; being towards the institution. Moreover, the music trade on the time was rife with drug use, with many musicians utilizing medicine as a method to deal with the stress and pressures of touring, recording, and performing.

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Private Curiosity

Nevertheless, Hendrix’s drug use was not only a product of his setting. In accordance with those that knew him finest, Hendrix had a deep private curiosity in altered states of consciousness and was at all times trying to find methods to push the boundaries of his thoughts and his music. In interviews and quotes, Hendrix usually talked concerning the significance of medicine in his artistic course of, stating that they helped him to see issues in a brand new method and allowed him to entry elements of his creativeness that he couldn’t in any other case attain. Gasoline Rocks writes:

“One of the fascinating features of Hendrix’s life was his use of hallucinogenic medicine, notably LSD, which he used to gasoline his creativity and inventive output. In reality, some have speculated that it was his use of psychedelic medicine that helped him change into the musical genius he was.”

Some argue that Hendrix’s drug use was a damaging pressure that contributed to his premature demise in 1970, whereas others see it as an important a part of his inventive imaginative and prescient and creativity.

One of the generally cited items of proof within the debate over Hendrix’s drug use is the truth that he was arrested a number of instances for drug possession all through his profession. In 1969, Hendrix was arrested for heroin possession in Toronto, which led to him being detained for a number of days and almost lacking a vital efficiency at Woodstock. Moreover, Hendrix was recognized to often smoke marijuana and drop acid, each of which have been unlawful on the time. In songs like “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” and “Voodoo Chile,” Hendrix makes quite a few references to medicine, together with LSD, marijuana, and heroin. 

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Hendrix’s Dying

Hendrix died from a Barbiturate overdose in 1970, after suffocating on his personal vomit. He was the age of 27, which meant he joined a star studded membership of different skills who’ve sadly handed at this identical age. It’s exhausting to know whether or not these sleeping tablets have been a part of an even bigger substance downside in Hendrix’s life, however nonetheless, they have been the principle reason for his passing.

Hendrix was evidently very younger, and would have absolutely continued to create legendary music had he nonetheless been alive later in his life. Guilty a tradition of medicine on the demise of so many nice people is to keep away from the principle difficulty. Fame will at all times be a killer, because it’s one thing nobody can actually put together for. From the surface, it seems like essentially the most wonderful and social factor ever. However from the within, are you able to ever really feel extra alone? Hendrix used substances to assist him see in a different way, similar to the Beatles did with their White Album. 


Jimi Hendrix will probably be perpetually remembered as one of many best musicians of all time. Sadly, he was taken from us far too younger, however this is not going to tamper his legacy. Regardless of these clear indicators of Hendrix’s drug use, there are nonetheless those that argue that it was not as important a consider his life and music as some may consider. For instance, some recommend that Hendrix’s drug use was merely a method for him to flee from the pressures of his profession and that it didn’t have a major influence on his artistic output.

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Others argue that Hendrix was ready to make use of medicine in a optimistic method, harnessing their results to gasoline his artistic course of and produce a few of his most modern and groundbreaking music. Nonetheless, for me, Hendrix was one more genius musician who loved experimenting with substances like some other. However his essential love was music, and that may by no means be argued towards.

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