It’s hard to believe that the same brilliant guy who sang Hey Joe and re-wrote The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock ’69, was also a member of the US Army. But he was. And Retronaut has the pictures to prove it. Jimi Hendrix, like you’ve never seen him before, inside. Oh… and maybe an Elvis-in-the-Army photo or two as well :)
JIMI HENDRIX IN THE ARMY, 1961-1962
Apparently, 19 year-old Jimi used to get into a bit of trouble with the law. After getting caught riding in stolen cars, he was given the choice of a two-year prison sentence or army service. He enlisted in the US Army on May 31, 1961, and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.
Luckily for us, Jimi Hendrix was a really bad soldier. So bad (and so prone to fall asleep while on duty), that after only a year his commanding officers asked that he be discharged. I think that’s hilarious… and awesome! Hendrix would go on to become one of the greatest rock legends of all time, and he liked to tell reporters that during his army stint he broke his ankle after his 26th parachute jump and was given a medical discharge. But now we know that’s not so :)
Now I’m curious as to whether or not the in-the-works Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre 3000 (which we’ve caught glimpses of here) will include this really fascinating time in the rock star’s life. He’s got a great story– before the fame– and I hope the movie does it justice.
Retronaut also pulled these photos from LIFE, which show a young Elvis Presley returning home from his service in the Army. Check out more in the gallery.