American audiences received their first taste of rock legend Jimi Hendrix when he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. At the insistence of Paul McCartney, Hendrix and his bandmates Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell were booked alongside headliners like Simon & Garfunkel and the Beach Boys, as well as future stars like Janis Joplin and The Who.
Hendrix laid his claim to fame after the band's finale of "Wild Thing," when he set his multicolored Fender Stratocaster on fire. The band was immediately invited to tour with the Monkees following the festival.
With Hendrix on vocals and guitar, Redding on bass and backing vocals and Mitchell on drums, the Jimi Hendrix Experience shot to international celebrity status and critical acclaim with a series of hits, including "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze,""The Wind Cries Mary," "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" and "All Along the Watchtower."
A combination of deteriorating relationships, musical differences and drugs resulted in the band's split in 1969. "This is the last gig we'll be playing together," Hendrix told the audience at their final show during that year's Denver Pop festival.
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(Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images)
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