Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jimi Hendrix i.m.

When I was a schoolboy I bought the 45 (younger readers: this was a small, circular vinyl object like an LP that had been through the washing machine too many times) of his song “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, from the Electric Ladyland album. It still sounds amazing, and here he is on 4 January 1969 performing it live on the Lulu Show.

This is an historical artefact not just because it is Hendrix being awesome but because it is a reminder of how much better TV was in those days. The Lulu Show was mainstream Mum & Dad telly – and it often showed ugly blokes playing what Mum & Dad would have thought was ugly music. The equally mainstream Julie Felix Show featured people like the Incredible String Band.

I can’t think what a modern equivalent might be: Graeme Norton featuring Mogwai? Suggestions welcome in the comments.

On New Year’s Eve 1969 Hendrix played at the Fillmore East with his new all-black band, the Band of Gypsys. The live album that resulted is an embarrassment of riches but maybe the best thing is “Machine Gun”, his protest against the Vietnam War:

And on 18 September 1970 he died, aged 27. He’d be 69 this November. Imagine. 

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