mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner
Jimi Hendrix sits next to Carmen Borrero in a Pool Box seat during afternoon sound check at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 14, 1968.
Jimi Hendrix sits next to Carmen Borrero in a Pool Box seat during afternoon sound check at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 14, 1968.Ed Caraeff—Morgan Media Partners
Jimi Hendrix sits next to Carmen Borrero in a Pool Box seat during afternoon sound check at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 14, 1968.
Jimi Hendrix on stage at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival on June 18, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix sets fire to his Fender Stratocaster guitar while performing at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival on June 18, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix on stage during a rehearsal ahead of the performance by The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 18, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix shoots pool at the Bel Air home of John and Michelle Phillips in Los Angeles, California, July 1, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix plays his guitar in the dressing room before The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 18, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix backstage before his show at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. on Feb. 9, 1968.
Jimi Hendrix on stage at the Newport Pop Festival, Northridge, California, June 22, 1969.
Jimi Hendrix sits next to Carmen Borrero in a Pool Box seat during afternoon sound check at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 14
... VIEW MORE

Ed Caraeff—Morgan Media Partners
1 of 8

How One Photographer Captured Jimi Hendrix at His Peak

When tens of thousands of people gathered at California's Monterey County Fairgrounds in the summer of 1967 — 50 years ago next month — even though TIME dismissed the audience as "members of the turned-on generation" in funny clothes, it was clear that the music was worth serious consideration.

"Onstage in the 7,000-seat arena, an English group called The Who set off smoke bombs, smashed a guitar and kicked over their drums," the magazine reported. "American Singer Jimi Hendrix topped that by plucking his guitar strings with his teeth, and for an encore set the entire instrument on fire."

One of the thousands of people present that day was photographer Ed Caraeff, whose photograph of that moment has been called one of the most famous rock photos in music history. It's one of the dozens of images of Hendrix featured in the new book Burning Desire: The Jimi Hendrix Experience Through the Lens of Ed Caraeff. As Caraeff notes in the introduction, he might not have taken the picture at all had it not been for a lucky bit of advice from a stranger. Caraeff had gotten himself on the press list for the Monterey Pop Festival on the strength of photos he'd made starting as a teenager taking photos of bands that would come through Los Angeles and showing the results to the artists, but he didn't really know anything about Hendrix. Few people there did. A German photographer, however, tipped him off: "save some film for his Jimi Hendrix cat."

After delivering the results to Hendrix's hotel, he was invited to come along and photograph the artist at other gigs. Caraeff ended up working as a photographer for 20 years before moving to New York City and becoming a chef.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.