Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle during World War II. His father, Al Hendrix, had married his mother Lucille the same year and was drafted into the army only three days after their marriage; Lucille was still pregnant at the time. Al, who was assigned to guard airfields for the U.S. Air Force, requested leave to visit his wife during or after the birth of his son, but because his unit was stationed too far from Seattle, he was refused. A day later, the elder Hendrix was confined to the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL. He was detained for over a month without charge or trial.
Johnny, meanwhile, was cared for by his maternal grandmother, Clarice. Lucille became increasingly difficult for Al to contact, and the young Johnny was sent off to a number of different women. Al finally returned from the service in 1945 and met his 3-year-old son for the first time. Worried that “Johnny Allen” was the name of a man with whom Lucille had been unfaithful, Al changed his son’s name to “James Marshall.”