Special Editorial: The Music Community Can’t Let Jimi Hendrix Go

It’s been nearly 50 years since the death of Jimi Hendrix. The one-of-a-kind musician was only 27 when he passed away in 1970, but in his brief career he left an impression that means something to just about everyone who appreciates rock music. Some found that his style marked him as one of the most soulful rockers in history. Others found his lyrics to be the perfect poetry of the era (even if they weren’t what he was best known for), and most still consider him to be the greatest guitarist to ever live.

For these reasons, as well as because of the mystique that surrounds a brilliant artist who dies too young, we just can’t seem to let Hendrix go. This might seem like a perfectly acceptable general statement. But just consider how many direct references and tributes there have been to Hendrix in pop culture and entertainment in recent years.

The first thing that comes to mind might be Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero, an interview-based documentary that came out in 2011. Narrated by Slash and including commentary from members of the Hendrix family and iconic musicians from Ginger Baker to Eric Clapton, it was made to mark the 40th anniversary of the artist’s passing. One positive review called it “a delight for anyone who has ever found the sound of an electric guitar to be a transporting experience,” and it was a film that surrounded viewers with Hendrix’s unique brilliance.

The name of this documentary probably calls makes many younger fans think of the Guitar Hero video game franchise, and Hendrix’s legacy has been preserved there as well. While there isn’t a Guitar Hero edition specifically branded with Hendrix’s name, the guitarist was a major part of the game Guitar Hero: World Tour. This piece about the game explains that Hendrix was actually turned into a playable character, with several of the artist’s top tracks included as either regular songs or downloadable content. This will all be familiar to fans of Guitar Hero, but what you may not know is that this isn’t the only video game featuring Jimi Hendrix.

There’s actually an online slot machine designed as a tribute to the rock star. An online gaming database featuring a collection of popular slots explains there’s something for everyone in the slot gaming genre, and that includes a few nods to fans of classic rock. Throughout 2016, companies behind these slot reels concentrated on bringing a few of history’s greatest rock acts to life by way of infusing slot reels with licensed music and animated content. “Little Wing” and “Crosstown Traffic” are just a few of the famous songs featured during gameplay.

More significant than any game or documentary, is the traveling tribute concert roving about the U.S. and preserving the memory of Hendrix’s performances as best it can. Written up in a recent article, this concert—called the Experience Hendrix Tour—features an in-and-out blend of talented musicians dedicated to celebrating the artistry of great guitar playing. The guitarists taking part come from a variety of genres, but playing Hendrix seems to pull them all together. That, more than anything else, speaks to the artist’s lasting influence not just over rock but over music in general.

All things considered, we just can’t seem to let the guy go. And really, who would ever want to?

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