Jimi Hendrix is a production of Hourly History. The publishers have a signature subtitle, “A Life from Beginning to End.” The title varies a bit when the subject of the examination is an event or an era. This work is Book 2 in a Biographies of Rock Stars series. Designed to be read in an hour or under, books published by Hourly History fascinate me as they explore lesser-known facts of material many readers consider they know everything about. How will this presentation surprise me?
I am a passive consumer of the offerings the entertainment industry provides. I do not follow tabloids; I am not an ardent fan, or groupie, of anyone. My knowledge of Jimi Hendrix was limited to “everyone knows.” Everyone knew that his music was different. Everyone knew he took lots of drugs and probably had lots of female companionship; there may have been male fans as well. His lifestyle didn’t matter to “us,” the fans if the music was entertaining. It didn’t entertain everyone, of course. There were some fans and non-fans, of all ages, who took exception to a Hendrix interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Hendrix was a baby boomer, like me. He grew up in a single parent household in the early nineteen forties because father Al was off to war in Europe. The single parent family was not a happy one because the single parent, Lucille, was absent a lot, frequently in the company of other men. Her absences happened so much that when Al returned from the war, he was unsure of the paternity of Jimi. It didn’t help that Lucille had named Jimi after a man known by Al to be one of her “main” lovers.
Home life never left the area of “rough.” Al had periods of good and bad employment. When good, he was away from home a lot. When bad, he hid in alcohol a lot. The net effect was that if Jimi had to describe parental figures, he might include grandma and a couple of aunts. At least he didn’t have to include social services as four of his siblings was forced to do. Al had turned them over to the state when he could not afford the specialized medical care they needed.
Jimi survived the teenage years and even joined the US Army. True, it was under duress, a choice between jail and the military, but he did excel in the Army by becoming one of their elite soldiers, a paratrooper. Discharged for medical, not disciplinary, reasons, Hendrix went on to pursue the music career for which he was famous.
This novel offers a possible explanation for the Hendrix ambidextrous ability to play guitar. I will leave that for the reader to discover and not reveal a possible “spoiler.” This series of books is always good and serves as a motivation for the casual observer to do further research. Prices vary for Hourly History novels on the Amazon site. Subscribing directly to the Hourly History website will lead to weekly emails offering publications for free. Clicking a link will lead to an Amazon site where the novels are offered free or through the Kindle Unlimited subscription system.
Think of these as a fun challenge. How much do you know about the subject of these one-hour surveys? I try to read at least one of these weekly. It relieves the guilt over all the time I spend reading less “legitimate” fiction.