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Jimi Hendrix always mentioned that in his childhood, he went by the nickname “Buster.” It turns out that as a kid, Jimi Hendrix was a huge fan of Buster Crabbe, the actor who played Flash Gordon in those thrilling sci-fi movies. The young Jimi Hendrix insisted on being called “Buster”, not because it was his real name, but because he admired the dashing hero who traveled to the planet Mongo in a rocket ship, facing alien races, and righting wrongs with suave, blond-haired charm.

But here’s the twist: Jimi Hendrix, or rather, “Buster”, wasn’t your typical Flash Gordon lookalike. He was African-American with a touch of Cherokee ancestry, sporting kinky hair, and a toothy grin. Growing up in 1950s Seattle amidst a tumultuous family life marred by alcoholism and violence, “Buster” found solace in his vivid imagination. He even had a close encounter with a UFO, sparking a lifelong fascination with science fiction.

Jimi Hendrix, along with his brother Leon Hendrix, witnessed a disc-shaped UFO hovering in their backyard. This brief, otherworldly sight fueled “Buster’s” imagination, leading him to fill pages with drawings of spaceships and cosmic wonders. Amid poverty and chaos, Hendrix’s creative mind became a refuge. Eventually, Hendrix traded his broom-as-guitar routine for a real guitar, embarking on a musical journey that would transcend the cosmos.


From “Buster” to Jimi Hendrix


As time went on, James Marshall Hendrix (formerly “Buster”) moved beyond his childhood moniker. In 1962, after a stint in military service as a paratrooper, Jimi Hendrix embraced the guitar professionally. His solo career, under the name Hendrix, took flight in 1966 after connecting with Chas Chandler of The Animals. Interestingly, Chandler, a bassist, and a sci-fi enthusiast introduced Jimi Hendrix to a more sophisticated realm of science-fiction literature.

In crafting masterpieces like “Third Stone from the Sun,” “Up from the Skies,” and “A Merman I Should Turn to Be,” Jimi Hendrix showcased not only his musical genius but also the profound influence of his enduring love for science fiction. While the childhood nickname “Buster” may have faded, its resonance can be found woven into the fabric of Hendrix’s timeless creations, each chord and lyric echoing the cosmic inspiration that fueled his artistic journey.

It’s a tale of a boy who dreamed of rocketships and heroes, transcending the challenges of his youth to become a legendary force in rock ‘n’ roll.



The Real Story Behind Jimi Hendrix Nickname “Buster”


This fascinating journey into Jimi Hendrix’s nickname “Buster” began long before his fame, and even before his teenage years. On November 27, 1942, during a night at the hospital, Lucille Jeter gave birth to her first child, Johnny Allen Hendrix. Ms. Delores, also known as “Auntie Delores,” a family friend who took in Lucille when she had no place to live after Jimi Hendrix’s birth, played a crucial role in shaping young Hendrix’s identity. It was on his first day of life that Ms. Delores affectionately nicknamed Jimi Hendrix “Buster.”

The choice of “Buster” was inspired by the resemblance Jimi Hendrix bore to the cartoon character Buster Brown. This childhood nickname stuck with Hendrix as he navigated through various periods of his life, including his second-grade year at Horace Mann Elementary School in 1949. As a shy and sensitive child, Jimi Hendrix would often be seen dragging a broom handle around, pretending it was a guitar. The school psychologist attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to raise funds to purchase Jimi Hendrix a real guitar, expressing concerns that the absence of one might lead to potential “psychological damage.”

Part of the reason for Jimi Hendrix being treated by the nickname “Buster”, was to avoid the legal choice Lucille Jeter had made, naming him Johnny Allen Hendrix. The name Johnny was uncommon on both sides of the family, raising doubts about Al Hendrix’s parental relationship. However, in 1946, after Al Hendrix’s return from military service, a significant name change occurred. Hendrix was officially renamed James Marshall Hendrix, honoring family ties and providing a deeper connection to his lineage.

The story behind his name took another turn in the mid-1960s as he gained recognition in the music world. The name “James” evolved into the more stylish and recognizable “Jimi.” In 1966, he made the legal decision to change his name to “Jimi,” a move that undoubtedly contributed to his brand and image as a groundbreaking musician.



Why Was Jimi Hendrix Called “The Bat”?

Jimi Hendrix earned this nickname due to his nocturnal lifestyle. Struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Hendrix’s days started in the afternoon after nights filled with parties and substance use. The Handel House Trust representative revealed that the curtains in Hendrix’s flat remained closed during the day, earning him the nickname “The Bat” as he slept during daylight hours, akin to bats.


Why Did Jimi Hendrix Change His Name?

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, making him the first of Lucille’s five children. In 1946, his parents decided to change his name to James Marshall Hendrix, as a tribute to Al and his late brother Leon Marshall. The evolution of Jimi Hendrix’s stage name began with the short-lived American rock group, “Jimmy James and the Blue Flames,” where he adopted the name “Jimmy James.” This marked Hendrix’s initial venture into the Greenwich Village scene in 1966. As Chandler formed “The Experience,” he persuaded Hendrix to change the spelling of his first name to the more exotic “Jimi.


Did Jimi Hendrix’s Guitars Have a Name?

Jimi Hendrix personally transformed a 1960s Danelectro Bronze Standard, originally believed to be green, into a red masterpiece. Prominently featured in photographs from Jimi Hendrix’s Army days circa 1961, the initially pickguard-less instrument mirrored his unconventional playing style. Hendrix’s poignant inscription “Betty Jean” on the guitar’s lower section, served as a heartfelt tribute to his then-girlfriend, Betty Jean Morgan.

Furthermore, Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock in 1969, where he prominently showcased the white Stratocaster named “Izabella,” stands as a historic moment in music. Woodstock, a legendary music festival, drew hundreds of thousands of people seeking peace, love, and music. Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during his set became iconic, reflecting the turbulent times and resonating with the spirit of the era. His improvisational and electrifying guitar rendition of the national anthem remains a symbol of artistic freedom and social commentary.

Jimi Hendrix possessed numerous iconic guitars throughout his career, each with its distinctive name. Perhaps the most renowned among them was the “Black Beauty,” a sleek Stratocaster. This guitar held a poignant distinction as the last guitar Hendrix was ever photographed with. Monika Danneman captured several photographs during the final 24 hours of Hendrix’s life, leading up to his tragic death on September 18, 1970.



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