The First Guitarist Jimi Hendrix Heard And Got Scared To Death
A long list of musicians had influenced Jimi Hendrix to become a musician and a guitar player. As a teenager growing up in the 1950s, the future guitarist grew an interest in rock and roll thanks to artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry.
During the beginning of his short-lived but successful music career, Hendrix drew inspiration from musicians like B. B. King and Eddie Cochran, both of whom he praised during multiple interviews. However, one guitar player ranked above all in Jimi Hendrix’s career and decision to be a musician.
Muddy Waters, also known as the ‘father of modern Chicago blues,’ was the first electric guitarist of which Hendrix became aware. Waters didn’t only introduce Hendrix to guitar, but he would also surprisingly scare him with his music; let’s take a look.
Jimi Hendrix Was Introduced To Guitar By Muddy Waters
During a 1968 interview with Rolling Stone, Jimi Hendrix named the biggest influences on his career when it comes to playing guitar. The rocker’s list included many celebrated guitar players such as B. B. King, Eddie Cochran, and Elvin James and his greatest inspiration, Muddy Waters.
Hendrix recalled when he first heard Muddy Waters, during which he was only a little boy. Apparently, Waters was the first guitar player he encountered as a little kid, and his album scared him to death due to its multiple sounds.
However, it wasn’t a negative fear that pushed Hendrix away from Waters’s music. Instead, the future guitarist was drawn into the blues and early rock sound thanks to Muddy Waters’ music. In addition to him, Hendrix was also influenced by many other brilliant artists such as Albert King.
According to Rolling Stone, Hendrix said:
“I started playing the guitar about 6 or 7, maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I was influenced by everything at the same time, that’s why I can’t get it together now. Like I used to like Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran and Muddy Waters and Elvin James. See a mixture of those things and hearing those things at the same time, which way do you go… B. B. King and so forth.
The first guitarist I was aware of was Muddy Waters. I heard one of his old records when I was a little boy and it scared me to death because I heard all of those sounds. Wow, what is that all about? It was great. And I like Albert King. He plays completely and strictly in one way, just straight funk blues. New blues guitar, very young, funky sound which is great. One of the funkiest I’ve heard. He plays it strictly that way, so that’s his scene.”
A year after this interview, Jimi Hendrix proved his appreciation for Muddy Waters by covering one of his songs at the Record Plant in New York on April 22, 1969. Back in 2018, BBC Radio 6 put out a previously unreleased cover of ‘Mannish Boy’ by Hendrix, who was accompanied by bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles.
You can listen to ‘Mannish Boy’ by Jimi Hendrix below.