Billy Cox

Birth name William Cox
Born October 18, 1941 (age 76)
Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S.
Genres Rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, rhythm and blues, blues rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals

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 trio (a.k.a. the Jimi Hendrix New Experience). 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.

In addition to Hendrix, he has either been a member of the house or touring band or recorded sessions for Sam Cooke, Slim Harpo, Joe Simon, Charlie Daniels, John McLaughlin, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard.

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 also 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. As Cox “only had three strings on his bass” and no money to travel to New York, he simply thanked Hendrix and wished him well.

During this period, Cox played bass on such pioneering R&B television shows as Nashville’s “Night Train” and “The!!!! Beat” from Dallas, Texas, working closely with Hoss Allen and John Richbourg of WLAC Radio.

On September 8, 2006, Cox mentioned in an interview on the KQRS-FM morning show that he can be heard playing bass on five of the first notes of Jimi Hendrix’s famous Woodstock “Star Spangled Banner”. The rendition was completely impromptu according to him. He said he thought to himself at the moment, “I realized we had not rehearsed this, I had better lay off.” He toured with Hendrix (with Mitch Mitchell on drums), usually billed as ‘the Jimi Hendrix Experience’, from 25 April until 6 September 1970 on the Cry of Love tour. Cox lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he remains active in music, and acts as an ambassador for Jimi Hendrix, his music and philosophy.



Nitro Function, 1971
Last Gypsy Standing, 2009
Old School Blue Blues, 2011
Unfiltered, 2014


Them Changes, Buddy Miles, 1970
Charlie Daniels, Charlie Daniels, 1971
5, J.J. Cale, 1979
Veranda, Christine Lakeland, 1984
Midnight Daydream, Bruce Cameron, 1997
The Deep End, Volume 2, Gov’t Mule, 2002
Odd, Kaoll, 2014

Gypsy Sun and Rainbows

Woodstock, 1994
Live at Woodstock, 1999

Band of Gypsys

Band of Gypsys, Jimi Hendrix, 1970
Band of Gypsys 2, Jimi Hendrix, 1986
Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Various Artists, Band of Gypsys, 1993
Live at the Fillmore East, Jimi Hendrix, 1999
The Band of Gypsys Return, Buddy Miles & Billy Cox, 2006
Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show, Jimi Hendrix, 2016

The Jimi Hendrix New Experience a.k.a. Cry of Love band

The Cry of Love, 1971
Isle of Wight, 1971
Voodoo Soup, 1995
First Rays of the New Rising Sun, 1997
Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight, 2002
Live at Berkeley, 2003
Live at the Isle of Fehmarn, 2005

Jimi Hendrix

Rainbow Bridge, 1971
Hendrix in the West, 1972
War Heroes, 1972
Loose Ends, 1974
Crash Landing, 1975
Midnight Lightning, 1975
Nine to the Universe, 1980
The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, 1982
Blues, 1994
South Saturn Delta, 1997
Valleys of Neptune, 2010
West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology, 2010
People, Hell & Angels, 2013

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