Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix
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Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  3,341 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Now in paperback, the national bestselling biography of American musical icon Jimi Hendrix It has been more than thirty-five years since Jimi Hendrix died, but his music and spirit are still very much alive for his fans everywhere. Charles R. Cross vividly recounts the life of Hendrix, from his difficult childhood and adolescence in Seattle through his incredible rise to c...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Hyperion (first published August 2005)
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Kevin Mellor
The best part of this book, like all rock biographies, is the beginning. Where he came from, what shaped him. Once somebody becomes successful, they're less interesting by default. Especially rock stars. They played this show, they played that show, they were friends with this famous person and that one, they did these drugs, this person was ripping them off, they were on TV, they wasted their money on this stupid shit... It's all paint-by-numbers. It's all a Rolling Stone cover interview, where...more
Sarah
This book was extremely amazing.

It begins with Jimi's life as a young child, and builds up to his life as an adult.

It's obvious that Cross REALLY did his research because all of his connections who he interviewed were extremely personal, and each of them had a close relationship with Jimi.

The most interesting parts for me entailed the people that Jimi met along the road to stardom, and how Cross just captured his life so well.

There were also some parts that even made me chuckle out loud becaus...more
Adam
Room Full of Mirrors is a really compelling and inspiring biography of one of the most fascinating musicians to ever live. Charles R. Cross describes the life of one of the greatest rock and roll artists to live. The struggles of living the rock and roll life, and surviving on sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. Not only does it describe the life of Jimi Hendix, but it also describes the hippie movement of the 60's, and growing up as a black child in the 40's and the prejudice against african american...more
Monica
This is a wonderfully researched and deeply moving look at the amazing, incredible Jimi. From poverty to greatness, he lived in two divergent ends of the spectrum during his prolific, sadly short life. He gave so much, bringing blues and rock to new heights. He was truly a legend. This book shows Jimi as a real man, with faults and insecurities. A man who accomplished greatness in his short, tumultuous life. This biography gives a deeper insight and appreciation of all aspects of Jimi's life. It...more
Tom
This felt like a long article from "Uncut" rather than a book. Lots of details, some period colour, and some anecdotes I hadn't heard before : but very little scene-setting, history, analysis, and also not much show of enthusiasm for the subject.

As a comparison, Charles Shaar Murray's Hendrix bio Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop is more breathless but works hard to place Hendrix in a context of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Segovia.

Worth it for the opening anecdote...more
Jason
I really need a better Hendrix biography to read. Can someone get on that?

This book suffered from what a lot of biographies do.
It was written by someone who does not necessarily appreciate the subject, nor is he a good journalist.
There is little to no detailed discussion of music, and there is no analysis at all, which is, right or wrong, one of the main aspects of a major musician's life I want to read about.

There are many goofy factual errors, names mis-spelled, that sort of thing, and the a...more
Npaw
I grew up riding other people’s horses in the vacant lot next to Jimi’s dad’s house. I heard all the neighborhood stories and met all the people at parties who claimed to have seen Jimi play back in the day or who say they went to school with him (it’s amazing how many people say they graduated with Jimi when he never graduated from high school. Not to mention the fact that Jimi never lived in this particular house with his dad and didn’t even attend the same schools as these people). I met Cros...more
Alison
A well written, informative biography of Jimi Hendrix. We had just watched "Woodstock" again which left me wanting to know about the life of a very talented guitar player. The book did not disappoint. Jimi came from a troubled home which set the tone for the rest of his young life. His parent's relationship with one another and his mother (whom he loved) leaving the home and leaving Jimi and his brother's care to the father (who was a role model of the wrong ilk) provided the rocky foundation fo...more
karen reyes
Loved this book. It is a true account of Jimi's life, from the beginning to the very end. This book examines his passion for music; he slept with his guitar in his early years. The author takes you on a journey of Jimi Hendrix the musician, the son, the lover the partier and the brother. He seemed like a really good guy, and was truly talented. He weaved through different bands before becoming "Jimi Hendrix", eventually resenting the mainstream perception of who he was as an artist. He got tired...more
Steve
Generally speaking I really enjoyed this book....I am a hater of biographies but because I am a massive Hendrix fan I decided to give this a go.

The amount of facts in this book is incredible and I can only imagine the amount of work the author went to, to gather up all that detail. But this maybe a potential problem for some, the author laid out the facts about Hendrix without dramatising it too much. For me this wasn't an issue since I knew all of Hendrix's songs I enjoyed getting the facts beh...more
Rhonda
Wow. What a STELLAR biography. It is both incredibly well written and so thoroughly researched.

Sometimes biographies can be stilted and dry, but this book has been a real page-turner and I've learned SO much from it, not just about Jimi, but about the state of America (especially for African Americans) in the 1960s, the political/civil rights/socioeconomic issues of the times, the British "explosion" on the music scene, local music scenes of the times in general - Seattle, Memphis, Harlem, Lond...more
Rich Jonny's Son
Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (Paperback) by Charles R. Cross is all about Jimi Hendrix's life. His life a child to an adult. his main internal conflict is drugs. his main external conflict is he's dead.

while reading this book i made a text-to-self connection. based on how i play guitar and so did Jimi. he also wasn't much of an athelete and neither am i

i would give this book 5 out of five stars. this book is about the number one greatest guitar player of all time so this boo...more
billy
The best part of this book like all biographies is the beginning. It’s interesting to know what has happened to Jimi Hendrix in his early years. It’s good to know where he came from and the struggles he had to go through to reach stardom. It’s interesting to read about Jimi playing at small clubs in queens to going to London and playing while Eric Clapton (the best guitarist in history) was in-between set breaks. I liked this book because I like Jimi Hendrix. I enjoyed reading about a great musi...more
Elionora
This book was an amazing biography, it was definitely very well detailed and inspiring. It gave you insight on his early life and a more personal depth that can only paint Jimi Hendrix as a tragic and relateable artist. Charles R. Crosses uses interviews and research in a very beautiful account of a life that has marked the hearts of many fans across the world.
Jeremy
This is hands down the best biography I have ever read. Sometimes I find a biography taxing because at certain points, it is just a blast of dates and minor details. Charles Cross does a fantastic job of making an interesting read the whole way through. I learned oodles of information on Hendrix that I hadn't known before. Very informative. I rate this a 5!
Joe Brunory
a close look at the best guitarist we have ever seen and how he couldn'
t shake the state of poverty he grew up with. Hendrix's unwillingness to take a vacation, to stop earning and spending money burnt him out. A genius on the guitar, chock full of talent, that original poor state of mind stole a full life for himself and his audience.
Irene
A well written account of how Jimi Hendrix evolved into the master guitarist known all over the world. He grew up in Seattle in a brokene home, desperately poor. He receives his first guitar at age 9 or 10 and from that point on he never stops learning his instrument, eventually becoming what many considered the best guitarist in the world. His rise to stardom was classic. He spent years on the road playing with different bands and barely making a living. Musicians appreciated his genius but it...more
Greg
On the Birthday of Jimi Hendrix a few years ago I decided to read all the books on his life I could get my hands on in his honor. The result was fascinating. Each one though telling virtually the same story colored the events of Hendrix life with each author's viewpoint as though his life were happening in multiple dimensions at the same time with each one ever so slightly skewing the truth and shining a light on a complicated albeit short existence of a man driven by music carried in his heart...more
Adam Roan
The book begins with a visionary quote: "I used to live in a room full of mirrors, All I could see was me." -Jimi Hendrix

I didn't buy this book to probe into his personal life (after all, why care about his fame when it's quite clear his non-fame revealed and yielded a more earnest art-form?) Rather, I had an intense interest in his craft, his skills, his inner vision which left nearly every fame-glory-guitarist awe-struck. When examining Hendrix's parameters that existed so vaguely in his life...more
Shin Tsujimura
The legacy of Jimi Hendrix quickly came to an end when he died at the age of 27 on September 18, 1970. This book takes you back to the very start of his life, how his career sprang into action, and what went on behind the scene.
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle by his 17 year old mother, on November 17, 1942. When he was 15, he got his first acoustic guitar. He was self taught by taking advice from experienced players, listening to records and nonstop practice. He'd been getting in trouble all h...more
Norberto Gomez
Jimi Hendrix: the greatest guitarist who ever lived. I'm pretty sure the book never states that outright, but I don't think many people reading the book would dispute the statement. The book follows Jimi's life from his birth (his original given name was Johnny Allen Hendrix) to his early death of what is most commonly believed (and what the book describes) to be asphyxiation on his own vomit from being to out of it from alcohol and sleeping pills to wake himself up. You'll find out all sorts of...more
Miranda (M.E.) Brumbaugh
This is an unbiased, well researched and documented biography of the greatest guitarist in rock and roll history. We all have heard stories about Jimi Hendrix, but this bio puts everything into perspective. From his youth being dirt poor and tossed around to aunts and foster parents and friends to becoming the highest paid musician in the world after years of playing the guitar obsessively and on the Chittlin' Circuit, JH was quite the success story. Unfortunately he couldn't escape the room ful...more
Prince M
Very revealing! Being such an awesome musician as he is, it is no surprise there are countless books and articles discussing Jimi Hendrix's musical legacy. But that also means we rarely strumble upon a book or an article which touch on his personal side, especially when he rarely give any details about it in interviews, as though the topic was too painful for him to touch.

This book is one of those rare gems which made an admirable attempt to elaborate various aspects of Jimi's bleak and intense...more
Lemar
Meticulous research makes for a clear look at this man who became a legend in his own brief time. Cross does not employ flashy prose to bring this flashy artist to life but is able to put us there in each phase of his life so that we understand (his take on) Jimi and the prevailing atmosphere in which he found himself. Written at the perfect moment (2005) when passions and legal wrangling had mostly subsided yet many of the protagonist were still around to be interviewed, Cross is the perfect wr...more
Carol Storm
Beautiful, compassionate, well-researched, this biography of Jimi Hendrix belongs on the shelf of any fan of classic rock.

Charles R. Cross captures all the different sides of Jimi, arguably the most complex of the great Sixties rock stars. Blues man, mystic, science fiction visionary, flamboyant showman, Jimi Hendrix comes alive in these pages like never before. Moreover, the heart-wrenching chapters on Jimi's childhood in Seattle add new insight to his tragic end.

I would recommend this book t...more
John
Okay,okay this is the best Hendrix biography, well researched and well-written, with a feeling for the man and his music.

However, this book is so damned sad it gave me the willies for weeks on end. The thought of Jimi suffering the way he did HIS WHOLE LIFE was just too much for me to take. Such a towering talent and a man who so many loved so dearly and a man whose music reverberates through our culture so thoroughly and whose music I have unceasingly listened to for 44 years - his troubles as...more
Todd Martin
Room Full of Mirrors is a well researched and fair account of the life of Jimi Hendrix. Although clearly a fan, Cross doesn't shy away from the negative side of Hendrix, which included drug use (surprise?) and violence.

More than 40 years after his death, Hendrix is still considered one of the most innovative, talented and influential guitar players of all time. It's remarkable to think that the entirety of his solo career spanned only 4.5 years.
Jacki
I have to admit I never thought Jimi Hendrix was "sexy" but after reading this book, I have changed my mind! Jimi was portrayed as a genuine person, caring, intuitive, and creative. I loved this book and was afraid after reading the Claption bio, it would be similar. No way! I found myself revisiting my Jimi hits to hear his voice again. Well written and a true American tragedy!
Bob Colwick
A great biography of Hendrix, it delves into some areas of Jimi's life (including him being a fanboy of Bob Dylan) and presents the legendary musician as a human as opposed to the psychadelic shaman that is the default setting of most articles/books written about him. Highly recommended for fans of music, guitarists, the sixties, and pop culture.
Stefan
Apr 04, 2014 Stefan added it
This is a very well-done biography. Cross really delves into Hendrix's mind and character and presents a very nuanced portrait. We usually think of Hendrix as a god-given guitar prodigy but Cross reveals he was a meticulous artist and very hard worker. It was interesting to learn that he was much more politically ambivalent than he's often considered to have been. His childhood and youth gave a lot of insight and I felt I got a good sense of what he may have been like beyond the usual 'guitar go...more
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Charles R. Cross is a rock music journalist and author based in Seattle. He is the founder of Backstreets magazine, a periodical for fans of Bruce Springsteen, editor of "Springsteen: the Man and His Music," a compilation of Backstreets articles, and is also author of a biography of Kurt Cobain, titled Heavier Than Heaven. His most recent release is entitled Room Full Of Mirrors - A Biography Of J...more
More about Charles R. Cross...
Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain Cobain Unseen Nirvana: Биографията на Кърт Кобейн Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music

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