Friday, 8 October 2010

Jimi Hendrix - his star still shines

I remember the shock and grief. I was crossing Old Compton Street in London’s Soho – it was already dark and raining – when I saw a newspaper placard that said Jimi Hendrix was dead. Forty years ago last month. He was just 27.
This afternoon I attended a gathering – seminar is too pompous – entitled Hendrix in London: yesterday and tomorrow. The venue was the Covent Garden Odeon – previously it had been the Saville Theatre owned by Beatles manager Brian Epstein where Jimi had played.
The nearest thing to guest of honour was Richard Lloyd of rock group Television fame. His contribution to the discussion was made as both a friend of Hendrix and himself a long time guitar nut.
The event illustrated the hold that Jimi continues to exert on music fans. There was hardly an empty seat to be had in the cinema - it being filled by mostly white, middle-aged men.
So while there can be no doubt his impact still resonates despite the years, Hendrix's legacy to today's generation was not seriousily addressed in the 75 minute session.
It is to the credit of the Handel House Museum that it has embraced its connection with Jimi. More than 200 years before the rock musician took up residence in a top floor flat, the building in London's Mayfair was the home of the great classical composer.
The museum organised today's event at the Odeon and the flat itself together with an exhibition is open to the public at the Handel HQ in Brook Street until November 7th.
It is no exaggeration to say Hendrix’s influence on popular music was profound and deserves to endure. His Wikipedia entry details how he took the guitar to a new level. He set an impossibly high standard, which should lead the current crop of guitar heroes to listen - and weep.
All that is left is the man and his music. This from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival - All Along The Watchtower.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, GC, says Jaffa. Jimmy was a one-off. Like Janis [Joplin], he died far too young. Note too how he always managed to insert the verbal phrases into and amongst the music, with both panache and distinction. the great man deserves his celestial resting place amongs the angels and musical gods.

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