A Purple Haze of PR Inspiration

by coach on September 18, 2010

Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix 1942-1970

It’s Saturday and this post is a bit of a departure. It’s not really about public relations. It’s mostly about Jimi Hendrix who died 40 years ago today. I’ve always wanted to write about him and it’s a chance to reflect about genius and inspiration on this rainy afternoon.

James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix was born Nov 27, 1942 in Seattle and it doesn’t matter what generation you’re from, hands down, he’s the best guitarist in rock ‘n roll history.

He played from 1964 to 1965 with Little Richard before breaking out on his own in the UK and Europe. Returning back to the US, he played at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock in 1969, establishing himself as a genuine rock star complete with women, booze and a drug-hazed lifestyle.

Jimi HendrixLoaded with talent, he was a guitar virtuoso. An electric performer, he was captivating, flamboyant, edgy. And an epic tragedy, ending in his death in London on Sept 18, 1970. In many ways, he defined a generation but, most of all, he was a musical inspiration during his all-too-brief career.

So how does this tie into PR you’re asking yourself? Well, Jimi was one-of-a-kind. To many, he was a musical genius, inspired, and inspiration is an important part of PR.

Sometimes in public relations, like Jimi, you have to break some rules and take risks to get results. He broke the rules with abandon, challenging the status quo, capturing the imagination of millions of fans before flaming out like Fourth of July fireworks and dying tragically.

But it was all about inspiration! When you saw him on stage, you knew you were in the presence of a musical genius. You didn’t have to like his lifestyle, but you had to respect his talent. That’s so often the case with genius.

So, here’s to that bit of genius in all of us. That small part of us that wants to challenge authority to move closer to our goals. That little voice inside that says use your talent; push harder to get results.

Jimi HendrixLike most professions, you find inspiration wherever you can. Whether it’s in an icon like Jimi Hendrix for me, the work of a talented new band or your eight year old scoring a goal in soccer. The genius is to draw inspiration from all around you, to channel it into your everyday work but to not let it consume you.

Thank you Jimi Hendrix for all of your inspiration.

Wikipedia has a quick Hendrix bio and following is a superb video clip of highlights set to “All Along the Watchtower.” Enjoy it!

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Photo credits: Jonathan Robinson (Top),  Shane Kemp (Middle), Francisca (Bottom)