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on 24 August 2005
If you like Jimi Hendrix's music you can't go wrong with this book, the writer's obvious love of his chosen subject makes this essential reading for any Hendrix fan. Not only is it crammed full of the detail of Jimi's extraordinary life, but you really do feel like you get to know the man behind the myth, and can appreciate his music even more so.
Jimi Hendrix's influence on music and popular culture cannot be overstated, but his life was a full of contradictions and he always struggled with his rock star status. His four short years of stardom came after an incredibly tough and tragic upbringing, and C.R. Cross has delved deep and chronicled these early years so that the reader gains an insight into where Jimi's musical genius sprang from. The research and interviews with so many of Hendrix's friends, relatives and colleagues reveal a man driven to escape his past but who becomes trapped in the gilded cage his talent created. Although we all know that his life ended in tragedy, this biography thankfully focuses on Jimi as supreme musician, as entertainer, as a man who lived for the moment, rather than raking over every detail of his demise. The mystery and rumours surrounding his death are dealt with compassionately and, it would seem, accurately and one myth is finally laid to rest.
Overall a very good read, offering a moving portrayal of a life lived at "a thousand miles an hour".
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VINE VOICEon 20 June 2006
He may have been dead for over 35 years, but Jimi Hendrix continues to inspire musicians, amaze fans and persuade biographers that there is the need for yet another book about his tragically short but influential career. Cross's effort is the latest in a long line that has already included everyone from his bandmates and ex-girlfriends, to former producers - and even his own father. Thankfully this is one of the better efforts; Cross takes the effort to expore Jimi the person, rather than Jimi the guitarist. Having read virtually every book that has hit the market place; this was the first in a long time which told me things I didn't already know - particularly regarding his relationship with his father. Less exhaustive than Harry Shapiro and Cesar Gleebeks "Electric Gypsy" this is nonetheless an excellent read and a must for any Hendrix fan
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VINE VOICEon 20 August 2005
There is some interesting new material, reframing, for example his military career and fleshing out aspects of the relationship between him and his family particularly his father. The author has introduced some complexity into Hendrix's relationships (family, "family" and friends) and his life that I have not seen in previous biographies.
While in broad brush terms there is little new, this book presents Jimi Hendrix "warts and all" and does a good job in balancing others' contexts. That sets it apart from most of the others - and the author does a good job of not getting between his subject and the reader.
This biography is probably the most professionally written one to date. The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because the sources of the material show through in places (though it would be ridiculous to expect a new biography to be stunningly different).
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on 10 November 2013
Charles R. Cross's biography on Jimi Hendrix, "Room Full of Mirrors", was an enjoyable and quick read of his life, but it seems to skim through his life and it does not go into enough depth and detail into the man himself. It is great on Jimi's early years, which was covered very well, but it seems to fly through his fame years by merely glancing at the things he did, the shows he performed, and the music he created, instead of getting into the nitty gritty details. I am looking at this book as a good overview of his life, but there are probably books out there already on Jimi Hendrix that are more in depth, and I would suggest to people to turn to those books instead if you are really interested in the man and his music.

But if you just want a quick read though his life and don't want to read any further, this book is still fascinating in its outlining of his tumultuous life. This is the first biography I have read on Jimi Hendrix, and I knew some things about his life and what he had achieved, and also about the drugs and the women, but it took me by surprise the amount he indulged in these things, for about four years straight. Numerous times throughout the book I found myself wishing he had stopped, taken a step back from the scene, and had a long rest from the whole industry and lifestyle of being one of the biggest stars in the music world of his era. If he were able to do that he may still be alive today, but alas, it was not to be.

So, for those who want more depth into Jimi Hendrix and his music, look elsewhere, but for the curious and casual fans this book is worth reading.
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on 24 February 2009
This is a great, easy to read biography of arguably the most innovative rock guitarist ever.
Jimi's tough upbringing and "paying his dues" as a jobbing guitarist for various R&B/blues acts are particularly well covered, as are the huge numbers of hangers-on who sapped his strength, creativity and money.
It also shows how Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and a lot of Jimis family
never recieved what they should following the demise of Jimi of the Experience.
Over 300 people were interviewed for the book and it feels well-researched.

Anyone interested in Hendrix will enjoy this.
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2008
I've read a couple of books about Hendrix before, written by those who were supposed to be in the know, eg Kathy Etchingham's book. Wasn't impressed with that as it seemed to be more about her than him. This book is the best of the bunch so far. Unlike MBW above, I'm not nit-picking over minor details, I can't be a***d and hopefully I'm not that sad. For such a weighty book there are bound to be a few discrepancies. This one gives the full story of Jimi's life and I was amazed at the details of his poor and troubled upbringing, how the family split up through health problems and lack of money, the constant moving of home and school. What he went through to escape that background shows that his commitment fully deserved the success he eventually gained. So sad though that within a year or so he was beginning to regret it and towards the end so badly wanted a break from the treadmill. Many will know of the 4 years of fame after Chas Chandler brought JH to the UK, but his life before, and the subsequent fights over his estate are covered well here and bring some surprises. How many folk knew of the number of top acts that he backed before his own career took off? There are 356 pages of the main book but I was never bored with it. I fully enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to gain a wider picture of Jimi's life
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on 23 January 2015
I'm a bit sceptical about people that write biographies for a living. Charles Cross writes an interesting book, but as he has written about so many other people and given them a rough ride, I didn't read it. Didn't realise that it was by this author when I bought it.
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on 11 August 2010
I've been a fan of Jimi's work for 30 years and read a lot about his triumph to tradgedy tale and this book provides a very good insight as to the man himself and his background. It explores his unusual upbringing, what drove him to success and his key relationships in later life.

Much still remains a mystery about Jimi's life and death, but this book has been well researched and does add colour to the rich tapestry.

My only critisism is that for guitar players, it's a little light on details of his instruments, sound and his playing techniques (beyond playing with his teeth and behind his back).

Overall though, a worthy read for those that want an introduction into the legend, or to learn a little more about the man.
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on 14 February 2008
This biography adds a new dimension to the literature on Hendrix, namely, it devotes much of its space to Jimi's life and career before fame.

Like The Beatles or Dylan, new books come out regularly and help flesh out the history or find a new angle to discuss. It seems that the author has had access to people who may not have been interviewed before and this results in a very interesting read.

Several issues, such as the loss of his mother, have not been well covered before. There are also some nice unreleased photos from the early days.

The downside is that there's not as much discussion about the music but there are plenty of other books which cover that.

Highly recommended
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on 4 December 2009
I wasn't overly impressed by this book. It was readable and detailed to a point but I'm a big fan of his music and didn't think it gave me a real insight into the character of Jimi Hendrix. For instance... it touches on him learning the guitar but not much. Hey, the guy was maybe the best ever, a bit more detail would have been appreciated.

Other reviewers obviously think otherwise but i don't think it was too great. I would go as far as to say it's probably one of the poorer music biographies I've read. It's certainly not in the same class as the Phillip Norman Beatles and Stones biographies, Tony Fletcher's book on Keith Moon or Eddi Fiegal's on Mama Cass to name a few.
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