Jimi Hendrix, the greatest rock guitar player who ever lived, was born on Nov. 27, 1942. Today, honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, we present 13 amazing quotes from the man himself, all taken from Hendrix on Hendrix, a new volume of interviews and profiles of the man edited by Steven Roby. The book traces Hendrix's life from his arrival in London in 1966 through his rise to fame in the U.K., his explosion onto the American scene in 1967, his performances at Woodstock, the end of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the vision Hendrix had for his music before his life was cut short. Hendrix died on Sept. 18, 1970, after a mishap with sleeping pills in a London flat. Let's remember him through his own words.
On 'rave music'
"We don't want to be classed in any category. If it must have a tag, I'd like it to be called 'Free Feeling.' It's a mixture of rock, freak-out, blues, and rave music." -- Record Mirror, Dec. 10, 1966
On the Beatles
"They're [The Beatles] one group that you can't really put down because they're just too much. And it's so embarrassing, man, when America is sending over the Monkees -- oh, God, that kills me! I'm so embarrassed that America could ever be so stupid as to make somebody like that. They could have a least done it with a group that has something to offer. They got groups in the States starving to death trying to get breaks and then these fairies come up." -- UNIT, January 1967
On beating up cops
"For years I lived in misery and the biggest mess you could imagine. I slept wherever I could and stole my meals. I played in bars and on the streets and sometimes I made a few dollars. When things would become too boring I would go with some friends and we would beat up a policeman. Within half an hour we would have a smashing row. Sometimes you would wind up in jail, but the food would be great, so it wasn't that bad. Most of the police guys were bastards, but there were also some good ones. They didn't hit that hard as some others and you could eat better. But even that got boring." -- Humo, March 11, 1967
On vulgarity in his guitar playing
"A lot of people think that what I do with my guitar is vulgar. I don't think it's vulgar sex. I don't consider it anything like that. It's a spontaneous action on my part and a fluid thing. It's not an act, but a state of being at the time I'm doing it. My music, my instrument, my sound, my body -- are all one action with my mind. What people get from what I do is their scene. It's in the eye of the beholder. You know if you lick girls' bicycle seats every morning before they go to school -- then you should really think that what I do is masturbation of the instrument or something like that about sex or love." -- Rave, August 1967
On the blues
"You can have your own blues. It doesn't necessarily mean that folk blues is the only type of blues in the world. I heard some Irish folk songs that were so funky -- the words were so together and the feel. That was a great scene. We do this blues on the last track of the LP [Axis: Bold as Love] on the first side. It's called "If 6 Were [sic] 9." That's what you call a great feeling of blues. We don't even try to give it a name. Everybody has some kind of blues to offer, you know." -- Jazz & Pop, July 1968
"I'm American. I want people there to see me. I also wanted to see whether we could make it back in the States. I dig Britain, but I haven't really got a home anywhere. The earth's my home. I've never had a house here. I don't want to put down roots in case I get restless and want to move on. I'll only get into the house thing when I'm certain I won't want to move again." -- Melody Maker, July 20, 1969
"I still love America -- quite naturally -- but I can see why people put it down. It has so much good in it, you know, but it has so much evil, too, and that's because so much of it is based on money. That's really so sick. People here are losing their peace of mind -- they're getting so lost in all of these rules and regulations and uniforms that they're losing their peace of mind. If people would just take three to five minutes a day to be by themselves to find out what they wanted to do, by the end of the week they'd have something. If people would only stop blaming. You can see how frustrating it is -- the black person argues with the white person that he's been treated badly for the last two hundred years. Well, he has -- but now's the time to work it out, instead of talking about the past." -- Circus, March 1969