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Dead before their time - Inspiring musicians of the Hippie era

Updated on May 30, 2012

Three leading stars of the sixties, music idols Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morisson all died at the age of 27. They were adored by millions of hippies, lived fast and crazy lives, and drugs were part of their every day routine.

All connected with Woodstock - 3 days festival of peace and music - Jimi and Janis had a fantastic show, while Jim and The Doors regretted refusing their invitation.

At some point of their lives, they weren't understood by their family, government or even their fans.

Three legends and their wisdom in the form of quotes:

Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970)

One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Jimi fell in love with music at a very young age. After strumming a broom and one string ukulele, when he was 15, his dad bought him his first acoustic guitar. Everything Jimi knew, was from self teaching and his inability to read music made him concentrate even harder on listening to the songs of major artists at the time, including Muddy Waters and Buddy Holly.

Beginning his career as a session guitarist where he played with acts such as Tina turner or The Isley Brothers, his meteoric rise didn't wait too long. In London, he formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience and their first hit ,,Hey Joe'' certainly won the crowd. Following album ,,Are you experienced'' is one of the greatest rock albums of all times.

His most memorable gig happened in the August of 1969 playing for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. He insisted on being the final act and performed on Monday morning. Although there was less then 80 000 people left, his act belongs to the most legendary moments in the history of rock.

Jimi died in Notting Hill, London. He was vomiting and choke to death. It is not clear if the doctors did everything they could to help him.

Jimi's quotes:

The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.

It's funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life.

I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.

I'm gonna put a curse on you and all your kids will be born completely naked.

In order to change the world, you have to get your head together first.

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.

The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.

And so castles made of sand slips into the sea, eventually..

When the power of love over comes the love of power the world will know peace.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

Talented, widely recognized and highly sensitive woman with a raspy voice. Friends with Jimi Hendrix who happened to die only 16 days earlier than her.

She was a rebellious teenager who carried her auto-harp everywhere she went. Being overwheight and wearing men’s shirts attracted attention of other kids and they began calling her ,,pig,’’ ,,freek’’ or ,,creep.’’ Fortunately not everyone was like that, and she befriended a group of boys who first introduced her to blues.

Her big idols included Big Mama Thornton, Odetta, Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.

She started her career as a folk singer in San Francisco, where she increased her drug use and gained a reputation of a ,,speed freak.’’ Being a heavy drinker, she wouldn’t say no to Southern Comfort, her favourite beverage.

Real fame happened soon after she joined a psychedelic rock band called Big Brother and The Holding Company in 1966. At the Monterey Pop Festival, the crowd was amazed by her barnstorming vocals. The audience included President of Columbia Records and he offered them a contract. Their first album ,,Cheap Thrills’’ was a wild success and was a certified gold record. Janis rocked.

The biggest selling album of her careed was ,,Pearl'' recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, that Janis formed. The album features two songs Janis has written - ,,Move Over’’ and ,,Mercedes Benz.’’

Janis died from a heroin-alcohol overdose and her body was found on October 4, 1970 in Hollywood’s Landmark Motor Hotel.

Her quotes:

People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable. They like their blues singers to die afterwards.

Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers.

People expect Janis Joplin to be a tough bitch, and say I start talking to them like a lonely little girl – that’s not in their image of me – they don’t see it. Say you meet somebody you’ve heard about, you don’t ever see them, you don’t see who they are and who they need to be recognized as, you see who you need them to be.

I’m one of these regular weird people.

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.

On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone.

You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.

It’s hard to be free but when it works, it’s worth it!

It’s gonna be a long hard drag, but we’ll make it.

,,You staying stoned and you got enough water and you got a place to sleep and everything?"

Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971)

Beautiful, talented and free-spirited. According to his friends, he saw himself leading similar life to Arthur Rimbaud, French poet, who lived in the 19thcentury and is famous for his violent and blasphemous poems.

At the age of 22 he broke off most contact with his family because he never felt supported by his father. His life became pretty simple – taking drugs, sleeping under the boardwalk and writing poems. That’s what he loved to do. Living at the Venice Beach, California, one day he bumped into Ray Manzarek, who found his poems amazing and suggested to form a band.The Doors took their name from a book by Aldous Huxley, ,,The Doors of Perception'' where the author describes his experiences when taking mescaline, a psychedelic drug. The band started their career in Sunset Strip Nightclubs, where they didn’t stay for a long time. Thanks to their their charismatic stage personality and hypnotic music, The Doors soon moved to more respectable clubs.

Album ,,The Doors’’ was released in january 1967 and included songs such as 11-minutes ,,The End,'' ,,Soul Kitchen'' and their first big hit ,,Light My Fire'' that became number one on the top music charts.

In 1969, during a concert in Miami, Jim exposed himself, and arrested for the second time in his life, this time he was facing possibility of 3,5 years in state prison. When interviewed by a journalist, he responded: ,,It's the issue of artistic freedom of expression, you know, and it’s a significant issue and the trial is very interesting.’’

In 1970, he was found guilty and sentenced to 8 months in prison. While the verdict was being appealed, he remained free on bail. Jim’s legal troubles had consequences for all the group as their booking were cancelled for several months. The possibility of jail hanging over him and his fast, stressful lifestyle lead him to move to Paris in March 1971, where he intended to continue his literary ambitions. However he didn’t have a chance to enjoy much of his new relaxing life. Jim was found dead in his bathtub on July 3, 1971.

His quotes:

I see myself as an intelligent, sensitive human, with the soul of a clown which forces me to blow it at the most important moments.

Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.

People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend.

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.

Love cannot save you from your own fate.

The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.

There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.

As I understand it, paranoia's defined as an irrational fear. But what if the paranoia is real?

People are terrified to be set free – they hold on to their chains. They fight anyone who tries to break those chains. It's their security…How can they expect me or anyone else to set them free if they don't really want to be free?

Where's your will to be weird?

The End - 1967


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    • Tina Hope profile image

      Tina Hope 5 years ago from UK

      Thank you for your comment Wayne!Beautifully said..

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      Morrison's quote, "Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free," says it all for all three of them. All suffered from that dangerous combination of youth and temptation...a powerful mixture which takes it toll on the famous and the not-so-famous. The times they lived in also gave them "license" to pursue their own pleasures...mostly the drugs and the fantasy world it created for them. Creative people like to feel creative and the drug trips give them an impression that they really are. Most come to the same sad end. Thanks for sharing! WB