As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
There aren’t many modern rock muscians who don’t know the name or haven’t been influenced by Jimi Hendrix at some time in their lives. His career as a frontman was very short, but Hendrix is one of the most celebrated musicians around the world. The American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even went so far as to describe Jimi Hendrix as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
Electric blues and American rock and roll recordings are what inspired Hendrix’s music the most. He liked making music that sounded vastly different than other contemporary recordings at the time. Jimi Hendrix experimented with stereophonic phasing effects, overdriven amps and feedback. He won many accolades throughout his years and in the many years thereafter following his death in 1970.
Jimi Hendrix Quotes
Here are some of the most popular and insightful Jimi Hendrix quotes:
1. “You have to forget about what other people say, when you’re supposed to die, or when you’re supposed to be loving. You have to forget about all these things. You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.”
Jimi was rarely one to follow the crowd. He encouraged freedom of expression and individuality. He taught us that it was okay to be ourselves and that a little craziness from time to time wasn’t as bad as others might make it out to be.
2. “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”
There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom. Jimi knew that you could know a lot of things, but without proper wisdom, that knowledge would be useless. Facts can be easily memorized, but they are immaterial at times unless people know how to use that information to make sound, rational decisions.
3. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.””
This quote resonated with hundreds of young people during the 1960’s during the Vietnam War. Many people were against the war. They saw it as a senseless conflict that put too many unncessary lives at risk. The peace movement began during that time in the United States to oppose the country’s involvement in the crisis.
Hendrix himself was no proponent of the war. He preached peace, love and understanding in his concerts and his music. He didn’t like the greed, corruption and love of power that the governments of several nations had embraced. His messages gave strength, encouragement and hope to a frustrated generation.
4. “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”
Musicans write about what they think and feel. Hendrix was no different. He saw music as a powerful force for change. He knew that people bonded with others because they agreed in the messages and liked the same songs and artists. Hendrix realized that music was an important force for change at a time when the world was evolving.
5. “I don’t have nothing at all to regret at all in the past, except that I might’ve intentionally hurt somebody else or something.”
Hendrix always seemed to come across as a very kind and considerate soul in interviews. This quote exposes his own internal flaws and weaknesses. He was just as perfectly flawed and human as everyone else.
6. “I’ve been imitated so well that people copy my mistakes.”
Many people want to emulate Jimi Hendrix, but very few could ever duplicate him. Hendrix knew that he wasn’t a perfect guitar player, but his style and uniqueness are what made him popular. He recognized that others tried to imitate his songs and style, and poked a little fun at those who copied his mistakes in this quote.
7. “Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re going to be rewarded.”
Most professional and aspiring musicians would probably agree that learning how to play guitar isn’t easy. It’s one of the most challenging instruments to master. Hendrix acknowledged this and the importance of perseverance. It’s mind-boggling to think about what would have happened if he had simply gotten frustrated and quit playing guitar altogether one day.
8. “Music is a safe kind of high.”
Psychedelic drugs were a major part of the hippie counterculture of the 1960’s. People were tired of war, racial discrimination, and other issues. Various controversial and often illegal drugs became populare during that time. Some compounds had different effects on people and they were used for various reasons. Many people wanted to get high to escape from reality. Hendrix saw music as a safe kind of natural high, one that could transport you to a higher plane without harming themselves or others.
9. “Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel.”
It’s often been said that blues music comes from the heart. There’s real feeling and emotion behind the music and lyrics. Musicans often write about personal experiences. We all feel sad, nervous, depressed or anxious from time to time but very seldom do people feel prolonged periods of time. The blues can affect our everyday life and they’re not something that can be very easily recovered from.
10. “Imagination is the key to my lyrics. The rest is painted with a little science fiction.”
Many of Jimi Hendrix’s contemporaries wrote songs that were based on personal events, issues or as commentary about the current state of affairs in the world. Hendrix rarely borrowed from real life, as this quote indicates. Hendrix was an avid science fiction reader. The 1966 book Night of Light eventually inspired him to write the song “Purple Haze.”
11. “I don’t consider myself to be the best, and I don’t like compliments…they distract me.”
Hendrix was very humble. He preferred not to draw attention to himself, and he generally shied away from praise and compliments. Even though he’s widely regarded to be one of the best rock musicians of all time, he preferred to see accolades distributed to other contemporaries in his field.
12. “You don’t have to be singing about love all the time in order to give love to the people. You don’t have to keep flashing those words all the time.”
In this quote, Jimi notes the significance of words and actions. Not all actions have to be explicit. He didn’t have to write and sing about love to express love to his fans and others that he cared about. Love and other emotions and feeling were evident in his actions. It’s an important lesson that he wanted to impart on others during the turbulent decade of the 1960’s.
13. “When we go to play you flip around and flash around and everything, and they’re not gonna see nothin’ but what their eyes see. Forget about their ears.”
There were plenty of artists during Hendrix’s time that were much more and flamboyant, even though Jimi had his own fair share of antics, such as smashing his guitar and setting another guitar on fire on stage during a few legendary performances. His point in this saying is that more theatrical artists keep fans’ attention focused on their physical actions. They’re so preoccupied watching what the musicians are doing on stage that they forget the reason why they went to the concert in the first place: to listen to and appreciate the music.
14. “Music is the most important thing. I’m thinking of my future. There has to be something new, and I want to be a part of it. I want to lead an orchestra with excellent musicians. I want to play music which draws pictures of the world and space.”
Jimi always tended to look at the bigger picture. Part of this was probably due to his influences and interests such as science fiction. He was definitely part of a music revolution, but he sadly never got to lead an orchestra of other musicians. This quote makes one wonder what would have happened if Hendrix was able to make this dream come true, and what artists would have been part of his orchestra. It probably would have been filled with some of the best rock and blues musicians of his era.
See also our Collection of David Bowie Quotes
Hendrix passed away in London on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27. He released three studio albums with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and one album as Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys in his lifetime. Numerous greatest hits, outtakes, alternate mixes and live recordings have been released in the years following his passing. He is widely known as one of the best left-handed guitar players of all time. Many have remarked at his songwriting and experimental techniques. He touched many people’s lives through his music and has given countless individuals the reason to pick up a guitar and start creating their own original songs.
Jimi Hendrix Video – Purple Haze Live at the Atlanta Pop Festival
Purple Haze is one of Jimi’s most iconic songs that elevated his profile and reputation. Check out this amazing performance.