Burning the midnight lamp for Jimi Hendrix

September 18, 2010 at 00:38 Leave a comment

It’s past midnight and I’ve just been listening to ‘Voodoo Chile‘ – the soothing sounds of ‘Little Wing‘ are just coming out of my speakers.

On the wall next to me is a sketch of Jimi Hendrix, a little hazy looking. His guitar stands out and almost seems like an extra body part. You get that impression o almost all the performance images you’ll find of Hendrix. Why? Because this quiet and humble kind of geezer was able to express himself extremely well through his beat-up Fender Stratocaster. Definitely fascinating, unbelievable even.

Barrie Wentzel took the photo below in Jimi’s London flat at 23 Brook Street, his very own beat bungalow… It’s the place where he the Seattle-born artist lived with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham from 1968 til 1969. It’s also believed that it’s the place where he wrote most of the songs to ‘Electric Ladyland’. The street has quite a bit of musical history because the house next door used to be the home of Baroque composer Friedrich Händel, whose ghost my favourite guitarist with the cosmic sound is rumoured to have seen in the mirror while shaving… You can watch a clip of the flat at the BBC.

If you’re in London this month, you can take a walk around the flat and see some personal song sheets, photos and rare film footage of the legendary psychedelic soul brother at the ‘Hendrix in London‘ exhibition. If you’re not bothered about any of that and just listen to his music, fair enough, go ahead and turn it up in memory of the man who died 40 years ago today.

James Marshall Hendrix was only 27 years old when he died but in that short time created some amazingly far-out sounds – for me, someone who has no real connection with the 1960s whatsoever, he will always stick in my mind as the musician who made me really appreciate music. When I was 14, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was playing heavily on my stereo and I found those sounds nothing short of spell-binding. Many thanks for that, Mr Hendrix.


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