It’s Jimi Hendrix’s birthday today. And while 70th birthday sounds a lot more meaningful than 69, Jimi did ponder what if six turned out to be nine and he recently made the headlines again thanks to a meaningless “Best Guitarist Ever” poll, one in which they righted some glaring oversights in the last one.
But they left the #1 spot the same because there really is no argument who the greatest guitar player in the world is.
You can try and find Hendrix’s adversaries, but you won’t be able to demonstrate that any one of them changed the face of their instrument in the way Hendrix did.
People will also correctly point out that all of this happened in less than a half-decade, but they often forget that he did nothing but work on his craft for the other half of it. The dude played, rehearsed and toured to be good enough to get your attention for a few moments of your time away from the headliner you came to see.
All of those tales are overlooked once you learn about the night Hendrix slept with his guitar.
I have to believe there are people out there, young, aspiring guitarist who hear that story and think of it as some kind of shortcut to greatness. That maybe they don’t hear enough of the work Hendrix put into his playing, focusing instead on those often repeated stories of the drive to greatness-not the unromantic tales of hard work.
Will there ever be a guitarist as good as Hendrix? Honestly, they’re probably has been a better one already. But Hendrix’s ranking is more than just the notes he played, it’s how he transcended the instrument itself, turning it into the focal point of the performance and securing its role within rock and roll’s blueprint.