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09.17.10

7 Coolest Jimi Hendrix Videos

The guitar icon died 40 years ago Saturday. From his Rolling Stones introduction to his anthemic Star-Spangled Banner to his BBC shred-fest, watch seven highlights from his career.

America, Meet Jimi Hendrix

At the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967, the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones introduced Hendrix as the most exciting performer he had ever heard. Hendrix gives Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” his own funky twist.

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Music Is Greater Than Politics

In this classic interview on The Dick Cavett Show in 1969, Hendrix explains his theory that someday people will have to rely on music for peace of mind and direction. What about politics? “It’s the art of words, which means nothing,” he said.

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Hendrix Owns It Like No Else, Ever

Hendrix’s wailing guitar riff on The Star-Spangled Banner stood out among the many iconic performances of the Woodstock musical festival’s kickoff in 1969. The greatest guitarist in rock 'n’ roll history turns the national anthem into a searing, wordless song of protest. God bless America, indeed!

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Humble Beginnings

What was Hendrix doing before he shot to fame in 1967? Look closely at the backline of this 1965 clip from the television show Night Train to find Hendrix rocking out to “Shotgun.” Before guitar solos, you have to start somewhere.

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Hendrix Shreds the BBC

Hendrix’s band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released the song “Hey Joe” in London only three months after forming in 1966. Watch the song that hit No. 4 on the British charts in this live performance on the BBC’s Lulu Show in 1969.

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Hendrix’ Psychedelic Haze

“Purple Haze” is not only a signature Hendrix song, but also a signature psychedelic drug song. Apparently, the song is about a dream Hendrix had where he was walking under the sea. All LSD trips aside, “Purple Haze” usually is in the conversation as one of the greatest guitar songs of all time. Watch as The Jimi Hendrix Experience performs it in 1967.

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Death of a Rock Star

On September 18, 1970, Hendrix passed away in London from a drug overdose, cutting his mainstream career short after only four years. This ABC News report describes Hendrix’s onstage gyrations as making “Elvis Presley look like a P.E. teacher.”

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Sujay Kumar works at The Daily Beast. He's written for MTV Splash Page and The Daily Illini.