2014 49¢ Jimi Hendrix
Part of the Music Icons series, this Jimi Hendrix stamp was issued to honor one of the greatest guitarists of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine. Hendrix used guitar and speaker effects to pioneer a new sound and inspire generations. Yet he could not read or write music.
As a young boy in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix (1942-70) was drawn to the guitar, practicing on brooms before he got a real instrument. After a brief time as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, Hendrix became a backup guitarist. He worked with top acts such as Ike and Tina Turner, the Isley Brothers, and Little Richard.
Hendrix moved to London in 1966 to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In less than a year, their debut album, Are You Experienced, topped the British charts with such classics as “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “Foxy Lady.” Hendrix then returned to America to play the Monterey International Pop Festival, becoming an overnight sensation after lighting his guitar on fire during “Wild Thing.” His stage performances became the stuff of legend – his 1969 Woodstock performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is considered one of the defining moments of the 1960s.
Hendrix’ meteoric career was cut short after just four years when he died suddenly in 1970. However, a trove of previously unreleased recordings and countless tributes keep Hendrix near the top of the charts and the inspiration of acts in all types of music.
Artist Rudy Gutierrez used acrylic paints and colored pencils to create the design for the stamps. The vibrant colors resemble artwork from the 1960s. The stamps were arranged diagonally on the panes in blocks of four to give a kaleidoscope effect.
Woodstock Music Festival Ends
On August 18, 1969, Jimi Hendrix ended Woodstock with a two-hour performance that included one of the most iconic moments in music history.
During the turbulent 1960s, the hippie culture opposed traditional values and violence. In 1969, four visionaries saw a chance to bring people together and show the world there was another way to live – with freedom and love.
Concert organizers intended to have the show in Woodstock, an upstate New York writers and artists colony that was also Bob Dylan’s hometown. But the offer was rejected, and six hundred acres of farmland in nearby Bethel became the concert site.
The Woodstock Music and Art Fair officially opened on August 15, 1969. Promoters hoped to sell 100,000 tickets at $18 each for the three-day event. But by Sunday, over 400,000 people had arrived. Many had entered without paying admission.
The overwhelming crowd made maintaining proper sanitation, shelter, and food difficult. Even with the problems that arose – like traffic jams, lack of drinking water, and severe thunderstorms – the Woodstock festival was considered a success. The crowd coped with the inadequate conditions and behaved peacefully during the entire concert, even though there were few security members on hand.
Over three days, 31 acts shared their messages of peace. Among them were The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, and Jefferson Airplane. Huddled together in the rain, dancing in the mud, and sharing food and water, the attendees showed that even in harsh conditions, peace could prevail.
Jimi Hendrix was slated to take the stage on Sunday night, August 17. However, heavy rains delayed his performance until 8:30 Monday morning, August 18. The crowd of 400,000 had shrunk to about 30,000 by the time Hendrix took the stage. He performed with his band, Gypsy Sun and Rainbows.
One of the most memorable moments of Hendrix’s set, and of the entire festival, was his performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s considered one of the most defining moments of the 1960s. Click here to see a video of the performance.
While the festival was going on, media coverage was largely negative, criticizing the heavy traffic and hippie culture. However, parents of the attendees began calling members of the media to let them know that the event was peaceful and going well, which led several media reports to change their tune.
The 1970 documentary Woodstock won an Academy Award, further cementing the festival’s place in our culture. The site of the 1969 festival now hosts a museum and was also added to the National Register of Historic Places. Woodstock ’69 inspired countless music festivals and anniversary concerts around the world, but none have ever had the cultural impact of the original.
Click here for more about the festival and how its legacy continues today.