The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their TV debut on the UK TV show “Top Of The Pops” 51 years ago today.
The band released their first single “Hey Joe” in the UK earlier that month. The single began making it’s way around the UK but did not make it’s way to the US for another six months.
The day of the performance began with rehearsals in the studio at 9:30 AM. The band would rehearse until 3:00 PM where they made their way to the “Top Of The Pops” studios. The Experience then went on to play “Hey Joe” after being introduced by DJ Simon Dee. The Breakaways provided backing vocals on the performance.
Listen to the performance below:
Jimi Hendrix taped his first TV appearance on the popular UK TV show “Ready, Steady Go!” on December 13, 1966.
The episode was apart of the fourth season of the show. The episode also featured appearances from Marc Bolan and The Troggs.
Jimi played solo and played “Hey Joe” on the show. After the performance Jimi’s club tour sold out and he was added to a nationwide tour with The Walker Brothers. The show would be watched by one of the top music effect guys, Roger Mayer. Roger had already built custom fuzz boxes for Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.
Roger Mayer said on the performance.”I said Damn this guy is incredible. He was the epitome of what any rock guitarist should be. We had no one of that caliber.
Mayer would go one to serve an important role for Hendrix. Mayer would be the one who gave the Octavia octave-doubling device heard at the end of Purple Haze.
Read more here
Listen to the performance below:
Jimi Hendrix appeared in court to defend himself on a drug possession charge on December 8, 1969.
Jimi appeared at the court at 10 AM. Jimi was under the jurisdiction of Judge Joseph Kelly. Hendrix was represented by defense attorney, John O’Driscoll.
The day began with the first witness Marvin Wilson who was a Customs Master. Wilson was the one who stopped Hendrix when he was supposed to play in Toronto at the Maple Leaf Gardens on May 3rd. Wilson recounted his take on the incident followed by other witnesses including a Customs Supervisor and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer.
Jimi Hendrix took the stand next and told his side of the story. Hendrix told the court that he had no idea of the drugs in the travel bag. Hendrix claimed the drugs must have been placed in one of his travel bags by mistake at a party in Hollywood. Jimi also mentioned that he smoked pot four times in his life, snorted cocaine twice, and took LSD no more than five times.
The trial would last two more days and featured a key witness in Chas Chandler, who was a member of The Animals and former producer of Hendrix. Chandler played a big role showing the life of a traveling musician and defending Hendrix’s lifestyle. Jimi would be found not guilty.
After word got around about the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was able to perform their first major gig in the UK on Novmeber 25, 1966.
That first gig would be played at the Bag O’Nails in London. The venue was not very large but was very influential in the music scene. The performance would be very hyped up and many of the biggest rock stars at the time were going to be in attendance.
Jimi and The Experience would live up to the hype this night and catch the eye of many journalists and musicians of the time. The performance was seen by Paul McCartney, The Who, Eric Burdon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Mick Jagger.
The Jimi Hendrix began the night with an incredible cover of “Wild Thing.” The band also covered “Killing Floor” and previewed their first single with a performance of “Hey Joe.”
Jeff Beck said on the performance,”The thing I noticed was not only his amazing blues but his physical assault on the guitar. His actions were all of one accord, an explosive package. Me, Eric and Jimmy, we were cursed because we were from Surrey. We all looked like we’d walked out of a Burton’s shop window. He hit me like an earthquake when he arrived. I had to think long and hard about what I did next.”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience would continue to light up the World from here. Jimi would continue to leave even the top rock stars at the time in a daze and showcase himself to millions.
Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 album “Electric Ladyland” is one of Jimi Hendrix’s and rock’s greatest albums. The album became a number one album and featured one of Hendrix’s biggest singles with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All along the watchtower.” Though the album was highly praised, the original album cover drew lots of controversy.
The first instance of the album being pulled was at the book store W.H. Smiths in London on November 12, 1968. The reason behind this was what was depicted on the album cover. The album featured 19 naked woman lounging together.
Track Records then used their art department to create the cover. Photographer, David Montgomery, shot a portrait of 19 naked woman in front of a black background. The idea was to draw attention towards the album with the cover.
The cover was met with controversy as many stores began pulling it from their stores as it was seen as pornography. The models on the cover also hated the way they were shown on the cover. Hendrix was very embarrassed by the cover and showed his displeasure with the cover. This was not the first time Hendrix was upset with a cover as he also showed his displeasure with the “Axis: Bold As Love” cover.
Hendrix’s original idea for the new album cover was ignored by photographers. Hendrix asked Linda Eastman, Paul McCartney’s future wife, to photograph the 19 woman on a sculpture from Alice In Wonderland in Central Park. The album cover instead featured a blurred yellow and red photo of Hendrix.
Hendrix’s original sketch for the cover
While many rock stars use their voice to criticize the terrors of the war, there were still those who chose to lay down their lives for their country. While artists like Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley were the ones who took the honor of serving their country with great pride. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix and John Fogerty were ones who protested their time in war and any future war through their music. Here are a few examples who sacrificed themselves even in the midst of a promising career for the people of their country.
Perhaps the most famous incident of a rock star joining the military is Elvis Presley’s 1958 enrollment in the Army. Elvis was enlisted in the Army when he became an international icon. When you are one of the biggest names in the World, it would be hard to give up all of this. Elvis however, was more scared of Rock N’ Roll becoming a fad because of this, then he was of losing his life. Elvis actually ended up gaining more fans especially from the older generation as a result, and Rock N’ Roll was able to remain in the forefront. Elvis was able to rank as a sergeant and took home an Army Good Conduct Medal.
One of the greatest guitarists of all time, was a soldier before he became a rock icon. In 1961 Hendrix got in trouble with the law for stolen cars. Hendrix then faced a chose between two years in prison or enlisting in the Army. Hendrix chose to join the Army and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Hendrix was not an ideal soldier and did not listen to his instructors very well. Hendrix also continued to play guitar during his off time on duty. Hendrix was supposed to serve for three years, but was discharged after a year for his conduct. Hendrix would of course go on to be a Rock sensation while protesting all aspects of war and society.
Though he may not be the most famous rock star on this list, Jason Everman perhaps experienced more things than most people on the Earth. Everman was able to play guitar in bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and OLD. After his playing day, Everman joined special forces and became and Army ranger and Green Beret. Everman later earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Columbia University.
The Man In Black joined the Air Force in 1950. During his time in the US Air Force Cash earned the rank of sergeant, similar to his future counter part, Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash spent a lot of his time intercepting codes during the start of the Cold War. Cash was later honorably discharged in 1954 and went back to his home in Texas.
The legendary keyboardist enrolled in the Army in 1961. During his brief time in the military, Manzarek played in various music groups and learned to grow and smoke cannabis. Manzarek was discharged after only one year and went back to UCLA where he met Jim Morrison and the rest became history.
The Grateful Dead frontman is another important figure of the counter culture who was in the military. Garcia joined the Army after stealing his mother’s car. Garcia snuck his guitar into basic training. Garcia did not fit into the military lifestyle and was discharged after only nine months.
The legendary blues man served in the Army during World War Two. King was discharged after it was determined his tractor driving skills were too necessary for the war economy. King and the rest of the World would later find out that King’s guitar skills were too good.
The Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman served in the Army Reserves during the Vietnam War. Fogerty would never be able to see combat though. Fogerty would later produce one of the biggest songs associated with the Vietnam War “Fortunate Son,” along with his band mates. Had Fogerty not been a reserve, we might have never gotten his great work.
After building on the success of their breakthrough album “The Joshua Tree” U2 released a rockumentary around their sixth studio album “Rattle and Hum” on October 27, 1988
The album featured new songs, covers of legendary artists, and live performances. The new songs recorded for the album were “Hawkmon 269,””Angel Of Harlem,” which was a tribute to Billie Holiday,”Heartland,””Desire” and “God Part II.” “Desire” would go on to become the band’s first UK No. 1 single.
The album also includes many live recordings from past songs. The album also includes covers of Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan. The band was also able to collaborate with Bob Dylan and B.B. King on the album.
The idea for creating a documentary about the band came in 1987 when the band met film director Phil Joanou. He suggested the band create a film during their next tour. The band chose him as the director and decided to film various concerts throughout their 1987 tour.
The filming was done in black and white for their first two concerts in Denver, while other concerts were shown in color. The film features performances of Beatles and Rolling Stones covers and a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner.” The film also shows many instances of Bono’s political rants throughout the tour.
The rights to the film were bought in 1988 by Paramount. The film would be released in theaters in October of 1988. The 98 minute film made $8.6 million at the box office. The film and album however was criticized by many. Critics did not like how the band used covers of other artists in the album and the collaborations. This made it seem that the band felt they already were up there with these artists and many felt this was not very creative. The band would listen to the critics this time and re-invent themselves in the days ahead.
Watch the opening of the film with a cover of “Helter Skelter” below:
Jimi Hendrix signed his first contract on October 15, 1965 in the UK. The contract was not something impressive as Hendrix only earned $1 for his signature and 1% of profit from sales. While this may seem like something that could be in a failure to success story, it was very common for other artists to sign these contracts back then.
Look at the details of the contract below:
Before he signed the contract, Hendrix had just made it out of the Air Force. Hendrix played in a band from Nashville and recorded songs with the likes of Little Richard and Isley Brothers. Hendrix was making a name for himself around the area for being an incredible guitarist.
Hendrix however, was not in the mainstream yet when he signed the contract, so he did not understand the full details of the contract. The contract would give away the rights to the music he wrote, performed, and recorded for the next three years. He would really then only receive one percent of the sales from this. This would go on to hurt Hendrix later.
Hendrix got his start in R&B music and had begin to move away from that. He was discovered by Chas Chandler of the Animals and he moved to London in 1967. Hendrix became huge in London and was recognized by members of the Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Cream.
Ed Chaplin, who Hendrix signed the contract for, did not know Hendrix had moved on and became a sensation. Chaplin then proceeded to sue Hendrix, his management, and Reprise. The lawsuit would go on for over a year before the two settled the lawsuit in 1968.
Hendrix would go on to be one of the biggest rock stars of all time after this. The contract which would become an important piece of rock history, sold for $191,000 at an auction a few years ago
Read more here
At the Open Air Love and Peace Festival in Fehmarn, Germany, Jimi Hendrix gave his final concert on this day, 47 years ago. The Jimi Hendrix Experience looked different from a couple years ago with their new lineup. Jimi Hendrix was of course on vocals and guitar, Mitch Mitchell stayed on drums, and the newly appointed Billy Cox was on bass. All of this however would not stop the band from giving a great performance.
The band was originally supposed to play the night before but got pushed back a day because of rain. Hendrix said on the event,”I’ll play tomorrow. Tomorrow at noon. I don’t have to, but I want to. The fans are out there in the dirt, I have to play for them. They came because of me. Otherwise I would have a bad conscience.” The band was also about to play a concert for the sixth night in a row. Two of the six concerts included headlining the Isle of Wight Festival and performing in Berlin five days later.
Despite the multiple days of playing in a row, this did not stop the band from playing an electrifying 13 song set. The set opened with a cover of “Killing Floor” which Jimi famously played the night he jammed with Eric Clapton to Clapton’s amazement. The set also included hits like,”Hey Joe,” “All Along The Watchtower,””Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child”to close out the night.
The only recording of the event is found on The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live at the Isle of Fehmarn which was released in 2005. The sound quality of the concert is not great. Concert promoters recorded the concert using two overhead stage microphones into a consumer grade Revox reel-to-reel tape machine that Hendrix did not know about.
There was a rumor circulating that a stage-hand named Rocky was shot in the leg during the concert. The problem was there was no one who worked with Jimi on the road named Rocky. The only credible fact that may make this true is the trouble the Hells Angels caused during the weekend. The concert promoter’s trailer was later burned down which was reportedly caused by the Hells Angels.
Despite all the violence, there was no denying the historical impact of the concert. Though historical for an unfortunate reason, this was not supposed to be the band and Jimi’s last concert. The band was supposed to play in Rotterdam on September 13th but was cancelled when Billy Cox became sick. Jimi was also supposed to play on September 15th at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho with Eric Burdon and War, but that was put off when Jimi was too stoned to perform.
Jimi would end up playing some songs with Burdon the next night which would end up being his final live performance and public appearance. Jimi was shockingly and tragically found dead in his girlfriend’s apartment in London just two days later. Jimi laid down a foundation the World will never forget and inspired a generation like no one else could.
Check out some footage and background on the show below:
Read more here