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Jimi Hendrix, one of the most influential and iconic guitarists in the history of rock music, began his musical journey with numerous challenges and setbacks. Struggling to make a name for himself in the United States clubs, it was a chance encounter with music manager Chas Chandler and a fateful concert attended by Linda Keith that changed the course of his life forever. This article tells you about the moment when Chandler and Linda recognized Hendrix’s exceptional talent, leading to his journey from obscurity to the formation of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience in London.

A Troubled Beginning

In the early 1960s, Jimi Hendrix found himself in the bustling music scene of the United States, desperately trying to make a breakthrough. Despite his extraordinary guitar skills and innovative techniques, he struggled to gain recognition and secure regular gigs. Hendrix faced financial difficulties and lived a hand-to-mouth existence, playing in obscure clubs and bars, constantly searching for the big break that could change his fortunes.

Linda Keith and Chas Chandler’s Discovery

In 1966, fate intervened when former Animals bassist and music manager, Chas Chandler, attended one of Hendrix’s shows in New York City. Chandler was blown away by Hendrix’s virtuosic guitar playing, electrifying stage presence, and unique fusion of blues, rock, and psychedelia. He saw the untamed potential in the young musician and realized that he had stumbled upon a raw talent that could revolutionize the music industry.

But before that, Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, attended another one of Hendrix’s performances. She, too, was mesmerized by his performance and saw something extraordinary in him. Linda felt an immediate connection with Jimi and became determined to help him break into the music industry.

Chandler persuaded Hendrix to come back to Britain

Chas Chandler and Linda Keith both recognized the immense potential in Hendrix but faced challenges convincing him to leave the United States for a new opportunity in London. Eventually, through their combined efforts, they persuaded Hendrix to take a leap of faith and travel to England, where they believed he would find the right audience for his unique sound.

In September 1966, Jimi Hendrix arrived in London, the heart of the British music scene, with Chas Chandler as his manager and Linda Keith as his advisor. Although London was already brimming with talented musicians, Hendrix’s arrival marked the beginning of a musical revolution.

Formation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Rising to Stardom

With Chas Chandler’s guidance, Hendrix formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience, a power trio that included bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Their first gig as a band took place at the Bag O’Nails club in London, where they left the audience awestruck with their electrifying performance.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience quickly gained popularity in the UK, captivating audiences with their groundbreaking sound, charismatic stage presence, and Hendrix’s innovative guitar wizardry. His mind-bending performances and iconic moments, such as setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, solidified his status as a rock legend.

Great pic of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, London 1966
Great pic of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, London 1966
Credit: Rolling Stone


The transformation of Jimi Hendrix from a struggling musician in the United States to an international icon with the Jimi Hendrix Experience is a tale of unwavering belief, perseverance, and talent recognized by the right people at the right time. Thanks to the vision of Chas Chandler and the determination of Linda Keith, Jimi Hendrix’s journey changed forever, and he left an indelible mark on the world of music. The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians and music lovers worldwide, making Hendrix a true legend of rock and roll.

What role did Linda Keith play in Jimi Hendrix’s journey to stardom?

Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, played a crucial role in Jimi Hendrix’s journey to stardom. After witnessing one of his performances, she was deeply impressed by his talent and saw something extraordinary in him. Linda’s belief in Jimi’s potential drove her to become instrumental in persuading him to leave the United States for London, where they believed he would find a more receptive audience.

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