Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington, on November 27, 1942. His mother gave him the name Johnny Allen Hendrix. His father, who was with the U.S. Army in Alabama when his son was born, had the name changed to James Marshall Hendrix in September 1946.
His parents struggled with alcohol, and often fought when intoxicated. The violence sometimes drove Hendrix to withdraw and hide in a closet in their home. His relationship with his brother Leon was close but precarious. With Leon in and out of foster care, they lived with an almost constant threat of fraternal separation. In addition to Leon, Hendrix had three younger siblings: Joseph, born in 1949, Kathy in 1950, and Pamela, 1951, all of whom Al and Lucille gave up to foster care and adoption.
The family frequently moved, staying in cheap hotels and apartments around Seattle. On occasion, family members would take Hendrix to Vancouver to stay at his grandmother's. A shy and sensitive boy, he was deeply affected by his life experiences.
On December 17, 1951, when Hendrix was nine years old, his parents divorced, the court granted Al custody of him and Leon.