Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix – RIP September 18, 1970

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It was the morning of September 18, 1970 when arguably the greatest guitarist of all time died of a drug overdose in a London flat.

The music world mourned the loss of a genuis.

“Even Castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.”
– Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix – Nov 27, 1942 to Sep 18, 1970

See my tribute to Jimi Hendrix
at Rock and Roll Saturday

Winehouse Joins the Exclusive, Forever 27 Club

No group has been more prone to tragedy than young music icons.

The death of Amy Winehouse this past Saturday, as shocking as it was, came as no surprise to many people. Her continued spiral into excessive drug binges had only two possible conclusions and she showed no sign of cleaning up anytime in the near future.

Her death at age 27 puts her with an extraordinary group of music stars, Hendrix, Joplin, Kobain, Jim Morrison and even the legendary Robert Johnson, all died at 27.

So what is it about music, fame and fortune, and the age 27 that claims these young icons long before their time?

I think it’s about that same emotion, turmoil and inner demons that came out through their music. When Janis sang you could wring the sadness from her voice. When Hendrix twisted guitar strings into a stretched symphony of feedback and noise the emotion dripped from his fingers as the pain of his childhood played out in his music. When Morrison penned songs and he talked about death, pain and a ‘killer on the road – his brain is squirming like a toad,’ you knew his mind went places nobody else did.

I believe the same thing that drove their success drove their death. It was that “all or nothing” thing. It was that, “I want what I want and I want it now,” thing. It was that “Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead,” thing. The common thread between the members of the 27 club is the success, the tragedy and the age.

From Janis to Amy it hasn’t gotten any easier.

Rock and Roll Saturday – Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix - Monterey Pop Festival - June 18, 1967

It’s been 44 years since Jimi Hendrix took a can of lighter fluid and set his Stratocaster ablaze. He began to squirm and writhe like a pagan priest in front of some demonic alter. He may have been conjuring up a complete shift in the couterculture. And on that Monterey Pop stage The Jimi Hendrix Experience was born.

The song — Wild Thing as only Hendrix could perform it… loud, wild and wicked.

If you’re a fan of rock and roll and have ever batted around the question, “Who’s the best guitarist ever?”, my vote was always Hendrix. In return I would typically get a nod, an affirmation, a raised glass and a simple “Hendrix,” in return. Rolling Stones magazine agrees, placing the Seattle guitarist firmly on top of its “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” list.

And if you happen to say Clapton, just know that Eric Clapton agrees with me. They often played together in various New York night spots. In his autobiography Clapton wrote, “What I found refreshing about him was his intensely self-critical attitude toward his music. He had this enormous gift and a fantastic technique, like that of someone who spent all day playing and practicing, yet he didn’t seem that aware of it. I also got to see the playboy in him. He loved to spend all night hanging out, getting drunk or stoned, and when he did pick up the guitar, it was very throwaway to him, as if he didn’t take himself too seriously.”

Clapton found a white stratocaster in a London pawn shop and purchased it for his friend. He took the guitar to a Sly and the Family Stone concert at The Lyceum that night. He was going to give the guitar to Hendrix that night, but he never showed up.

“The next day, I heard that he had died,” Clapton writes. “He had passed out, stoned on a mixture of booze and drugs, and choked on his own vomit. It was the first time the death of another musician really affected me. We had all felt obliterated when Buddy Holly died, but this was much more personal. I was incredibly upset and very angry, and was filled with a feeling of terrible loneliness.”

In a meteoric rise to the top and an equally swift demise, Jimi Hendrix was very much an enigma. At times, tortured by his own success and fueled by alcohol, he would drift into moments of full blown rage at whoever was closest at the time. His violent back stage explosions were epic.

I consider myself very fortunate to have seen Hendrix just two months shy of his death. I watched him on-stage at the 2nd Atlanta Pops Festival in Byron, Ga., play the Star Spangled Banner at midnight, July 4, 1970. This concert is available on DVD, if you can find it.

Hendrix died on September 18, 1970, at a Notting Hill hotel, a victim of his own excesses.

He has received many posthumous awards including his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Hendrix got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 1994. He was the first to be inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

What became of the rest of his Jimi Hendrix Experience bandmates?

Bassist Noel Redding went on to do some sessions work with Thin Lizzy and Traffic. Redding died on May 11, 2003, of complications of cirrhosis of the liver. He was 57.

Drummer Mitch Mitchell languished in mediocracy following his “Experienced” days. He audtioned for several top draw acts including Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Had he got the job would they have become ELM?), and Paul McCartney’s Wings. In later years he found work in a few Hendrix retrospective projects including the 2008 Experience Hendrix Tour which included artists  Billy CoxBuddy GuyJonny LangKenny Wayne ShepherdEric JohnsonCesar RosasDavid HidalgoAerosmith‘s Brad WhitfordHubert Sumlin, Chris Layton as well as Eric Gales and Mato Nanji. Five days after the tour ended Mitchell was found dead at about 3am on November 12, in his room at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland. According to the Medical Examiner, the Experienced drummer died of natural causes. He was to leave for his England home the next day. Mitchell was buried in Seattle.

Billy Cox, friend and early Hendrix collaborator lives in Nashville and can be seen occasionally around town on his beloved Harley Davidson motorcycle.

In 1971 songwriter/singer Don McClean penned American Pie, a homage to the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.), in a 1959 airplance crash. McClean called it the “Day The Music Died.”

I think of that day as September 18, 1970.

Auld Lang Syne Around the World

After yesterday’s post it was brought to my attention that ALS is not just big band like Guy Lombardo. Since the song is based on a Scottish poem, it makes sense that it would be done in a Scottish style. That got me to thinking… How many different styles could this song have? How diverse could musicians do this music? The answer was staggering. I offer for your listening pleasure, Auld Lang Syne from around the world.

The first version is from the Scottish Folk group, Cast. You will also find this version on the Sex in the City soundtrack.



Could it be a true Scottish song if you couldn’t find a version set to bagpipes and drums.  Here is the Caledonian Pipes and Drums doing Auld Lang Syne.



If you find yourself in Melbourne, Australia, drive 250 km, north by northwest, through the town of Bendigo. Take the Wimmera highway and you will at some point come to the little town of Emu Creek. Hang around a little while and you might get the pleasure of an impromtu concert by the Emu Creek Brush Band.



In Japan it is customary for stores to play Auld Lang Syne as their closing time music, ushering out customers with a fond farewell.



Turn the clock back 41 years. The date – December 31, 1969. The place – the Legendary Fillmore and the last New Years Eve celebration of the Sixties. In a year that brought us Woodstock and The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’. The Rolling Stones came face to face with the Hell’s Angels at the Altamont Speedway. And a young black man from Seattle wows fans around the world showing off his revolutionary skill with the electric guitar. Here’s Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies playing the New Years Eve show with legendary rock promoter Bill Graham introducing the new decade.


Jimi Hendrix would not see another New Years.


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~Oprah Winfrey