John Mayer was born in 1977. Known for his elegant pop-rock songs and spectacular guitar abilities, Mayer has been playing the instrument since he was 13. He grew up in Connecticut, and he started writing songs when he was 17. He was so talented that he earned himself a partial scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. However, he left the school in his first year to join LoFi Masters, the band of his friend Clay Cook.
Before long, he had made an EP; he distributed it all by himself while he traveled about, performing. His first proper album entered the market in 2001; it was called Room for Squares, and it was produced by a subsidiary of Columbia. In 2004, he began branching out musically. He worked with many well-known musicians around this time: for example, he wrote a song with Kanye West and Common, another rapper. In addition, he performed with Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Steve Jordan and drummer Pino Palladi. During this time, his music shifted in tone and began to focus on heavier issues. He started to gain a much more bluesy sound. Today, Mayer continues to play amazing music.
Jimi Hendrix was born in 1942 in Washington. Hendrix’s childhood was far from easy; his mother left the family, and died when he was a teen. During his adolescence, the young Hendrix taught himself how to play guitar, both electric and acoustic. He left high school without graduating and worked odd jobs until 1961, when he joined the army. In 1962, he was honorably discharged because superiors believed he was not meant to be a soldier.
Next, Hendrix worked as a session musician, under the pseudonym “Jimmy James.” He played backup guitar for other singers, like B.B. King and Little Richard. In 1966, Hendrix met Chas Chandler, who soon became his manager. This moment would go on to change history: Chandler, the bassist for the Animals, convinced Hendrix to move to London. In the UK, Hendrix—now joined by Noel Redding, a bassist, and Mitch Mitchell, a drummer—formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The group members quickly became very famous rock stars. He started his own recording studio, Electric Lady, where he tested out new sounds with a variety of musicians.
Unfortunately, the band broke up in 1969. Later that year, Hendrix performed an iconic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. Hendrix died of drug-related issues in 1970. He was 27.
Dr. Brian May (he has a doctorate in astrophysics) is better known as Queen’s electric guitarists. Born in 1947 in Middlesex, England, May was a great music fan throughout his youth. Along with drummer Roger Taylor, May formed the band Smile when he was at London Imperial College. In the early 1970s, this band was officially converted into Queen. With Queen, he performed in more than two hundred songs, and wrote the world-famous anthem “We Will Rock You”. For this piece, May used his physics knowledge to enhance the song with amplified, echoing stomps and claps.
The band played continuously until 1985, at which point the members were arguing among each other. Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer, performed his last public song in 1986, as he was suffering from AIDS. He passed away in 1991, and for a while May made his own albums. In the 2000s, he began performing with Queen again, accompanied by first Paul Rodgers (from the band Free) and then Adam Lambert as lead singers.