Hendrix - Musical Influences

Musical Influences

I don't happen to know much about jazz. I know that most of those cats are playing nothing but blues, though—I know that much.

—Hendrix on jazz music

As an adolescent during the 1950s, rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry earned Hendrix's interest. In 1968, he told Guitar Player magazine that electric blues artists including Muddy Waters, Elmore James and B.B. King influenced him during the beginning of his career, he also cited Eddie Cochran as an early influence. Of Muddy Waters, the first guitarist Hendrix became aware of, he said: "I heard one of his records when I was a little boy and it scared me to death because I heard all of these sounds."

Band of Gypsys bassist, Billy Cox, stated that during their time serving in the US military, he and Hendrix listened to mostly southern blues artists such as Jimmy Reed, B.B. King and Albert King. According to Cox, "Albert King was a very, very powerful influence" on Hendrix. Howlin' Wolf also influenced Hendrix, who performed Wolf's "Killing Floor" as the opening number to the set of his US debut at the Monterey Pop Festival. Soul guitarist Curtis Mayfield also significantly influenced Hendrix.

In early 1967, when asked what he thought about the music of the Beatles, Hendrix replied: "Oh, yes. I think its good. They're one group you can't really put down because they're just too much." During the same interview, when asked if he had ever seen Pink Floyd perform, Hendrix replied: "I've heard they have beautiful lights but they don't sound like nothing." In 1970, during his final interview he commented: "They're doing a different type of music. They're doing more of a space type of thing, I mean inner space".

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