Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Before Jimi Hendrix was a living icon, knocking out psychedelic guitar riffs and counterculture ballads that remained relevant after his untimely death on Sept. 18, 1970 — 47 years ago — he was a soldier in the U.S. Army. The man who once set his left-handed Stratocaster ablaze after playing it with his teeth wore olive-drab fatigues and a military cover before swapping them in for tie-dye shirts and headbands. But the way he left the service was as epic as any of his guitar licks.

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