Billy Cox

Listen to “Freedom”

Billy Cox

Born 1941, Wheeling, Ohio County

Although Noel Redding is the better known of Jimi Hendrix’s two bassists, Bill Cox knew – and played with Hendrix – longer. As a member of the King Kasuals, the two traveled the fabled “Chitlin’ Circuit.” After Hendrix relocated to New York City – where he was discovered by ex-Animals bassist Chas Chandler – and plans were made for him to put a band together in England, he asked Cox to go along. Cox declined and continued to back R&B acts passing through the area.

When the Jimi Hendrix Experience broke up in mid-1969, Hendrix called Cox and they went on to play Woodstock (as Gypsys, Suns, and Rainbows) and record. Cox also played a series of legendary shows with Hendrix and the late Buddy Miles as the Band of Gypsys.

After Hendrix’s death, Cox played for a time with the Charlie Daniels Band. Following that he continued to do sessions and club dates including some legendary performances of Hendrix tunes with Stevie Ray Vaughan. More recently, Cox reunited with Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and guitarist Gary Serkin, and performed a series of shows under the name Gypsy Sun Experience. Recognizing his contribution to rock music, the Cort Company released the Billy Cox “Freedom” model bass.