It Happened In Music: Jimi Hendrix’s inspiration

Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix
From the Friends from the Beginning LP

It’s easy to picture our greatest musical minds as utter geniuses, creating their own ideas and styles simply by drawing from some inexplicable inner wellspring. But like the rest of us, even the brightest have to take inspiration from somewhere–or someone else.  On March 1, 1964  Jimi Hendrix began recording and performing with Little Richard, which inspired his statement “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice”. Via this whimsical inspiration, Hendrix went on to change how his instrument would be played by generations of imitators.

A young Bob Dylan drew frequent comparison to Woody Guthrie for his protest spirit and vivid storytelling. Dylan went on to meet Guthrie on his death bed, received the advice of a lifetime, and became an even bigger sensation. Beyonce, whose vocal styling is inspired by gospel and R&B traditions, revered soulstress Etta James and went on to play her in a film.  Prince of pop Justin Timberlake’s voice and dance moves have always recalled Michael Jackson. For his first album, Timberlake used a Neptunes track that had originally been intended for Jackson’s comeback, and scored himself a hit with “Rock Your Body”. Finally, jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock created his own sound by noticing how much innovation tenor saxophonists had made in his genre, and tried to play guitar more like his hero, jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Digital music innovator MOG paired these inspired by/inspiration couplings into a playlist that we hope inspires you.

To listen on Sonos, head to MOG and add the playlist to your library. Or create your own version of this mix using the tracklist below.

  1. Long Tail Sally – Little Richard
  2. Lonely Woman – Ornette Coleman
  3. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) – Jimi Hendrix Experience
  4. Song To Woody – Bob Dylan
  5. 1913 Massacre – Woody Guthrie
  6. Resentment – Beyoncé
  7. At Last – Etta James
  8. Rock With You – Michael Jackson
  9. Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake
  10. Who Does She Hope To Be? – Sonny Sharrock