William "Billy" Cox (born October 18, 1941) is an American bassist, best known for performing with Jimi Hendrix. Cox is the only surviving member of Jimi Hendrix's three main bands, including the original Experience lineup (which did not include Cox); he was in the Band of Gypsys and afterwards the Cry Of Love (a.k.a. Jimi Hendrix New Experience) trio. Cox was also in the short-lived Hendrix band Gypsy Sun and Rainbows (there are other surviving members from this group) which played Woodstock, prior to the Band of Gypsys formation. Cox continues to perform dates with the Band of Gypsys Experience and the Experience Hendrix Tour.
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Billy Cox was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended Schenley High School. Cox met Jimi Hendrix when they were serving in the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1961. While using the bathroom at Service Club #1 during a sudden rainstorm, he heard guitar playing inside. Impressed with what he heard, he introduced himself, told Hendrix he played bass, and they were jamming soon after. They became, and remained, fast friends. They left the military around the same time and they played clubs around Clarksville, Tennessee, finally moving to Nashville. They formed a group called the King Kasuals. They played at Nashville clubs, mostly the Del Morocco, and occasional outlying gigs in the southeast, once as far north as Indianapolis playing what was called the "Chitlin' Circuit". Cox and Hendrix played in the backing band for Marion James around this time. Hendrix eventually left Nashville, playing all over the US in the backing groups of several famous artists, most notably Little Richard and The Isley Brothers, until he was "discovered" by Chas Chandler in New York. Chandler took Hendrix to England (from which began Hendrix's meteoric rise to fame), but before Hendrix left, he called Cox and asked him to join him. Cox (in his own words) "Only had three strings on my bass" and no money to travel to New York, so he thanked Hendrix and wished him well. From 1962 to 1968 Cox gained musical experience and developed his expertise. Cox played bass on the pioneering R&B television shows, Nashville’s “Night Train” and then the “The!!!! Beat” from Dallas, Texas, working closely with Hoss Allen and John Richbourg of WLAC Radio. Billy Cox has played behind many famous artists. He has either been a member of the house or touring band or recorded sessions for Sam Cooke, Slim Harpo, Joe Simon, Charlie Daniels, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard...
Quotes by Billy Cox
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