BBC.co.uk

Talk about Newsnight

Culture

Newsnight solves Hendrix Welsh national anthem mystery

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Feb 07, 10:49 AM

Tonight on the eve of St David's Day Newsnight will reveal the identity of the mystery guitarist.

On January 2 2007 we broadcast a distorted version of the Welsh anthem played in the style of Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner. Apparently the tape had been discovered in an abandoned recording studio. One of the other artists on the tape was a Welsh friend of Jimi Hendrix called Viv Williams. Tantalisingly they had been seen together in a pub next to the studio the week before Hendrix died. Could this be Jimi's lost last recording or perhaps Viv Williams paying homage to his friend? Newsnight viewers were sceptical.

jimiwales460.jpg

Some claimed that the whole episode was a hoax and that the real guitarist would turn out to be the late Tich Gwilym or any of the Welsh bands who have been known to play distorted versions of "Mae'n Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau". We have found the real Viv Williams and can reveal what happened the night the track was recorded.

In the meantime here's a list of likely candidates - who do you think it was?

Was it really Jimi Hendrix's last fret?vivwilliams.jpg

Or is that guitar solo courtesy of: the Stereophonics; Catatonia; Dave Edmunds; the Vibrators; Super Furry Animals; Badfinger; the Manic Street Preachers; the late Tich Gwilym; or even the mysterious Viv Williams (pictured).

Well, what do you think? Tonight we'll reveal which one of the above was actually behind the recording.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:33 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Mike Carter wrote:

i don't care, come on newsnight get back to news.

  • 2.
  • At 01:40 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • dicky wrote:

Newsnight NME edition

In the field of contemporary rock music circa 1960-80 the playing of the lead guitar holds a certain symbolism in the post modern mind. This is further enhanced when the identity of the post modern symbol, in the jungian sense, remains unknown and reflects, with and without, the mental construct of 'who are we', 'who are you' and ultimately 'who am i'. Is there a ghost in the machine or is it too early to tell?

As in the words of one rock music guitarist who contextualised the problem of others using his riffs when he asks 'who dem geezers messin with ma mojo?'

  • 3.
  • At 02:21 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Mogs wrote:

If you don't care why waste your time writing a comment then you cretin. This is a great lighthearted piece on the eve of St. Davids Day. As a Welshman and a music enthusiast I would be delighted if it was Hendrix. However, I have my doubts.

  • 4.
  • At 02:57 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

Mike said it all.

  • 5.
  • At 02:59 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Lammert Zuiderveld, the Netherlands wrote:

Years ago, on Hilversum III, the Dutch equivalent of Radio 1, a dj ended his weekly show with Jimi playing the Dutch national anthem. Three recognisable chords followed by a mash up of The Star Spangled Banner.
It was fun at the time, but no more than that. I agree with Mike Carter that you should stick to the news, but in my opinion that includes cultural news: I don't mind you if you show an interesting pop phenomenon at the end of the programme, but Jimi possibly playing the Welsh anthem isn't relevant for this time and age.

  • 6.
  • At 03:41 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Jude wrote:

It is Tich Gwilym of course and anyone who has heard Tich play will know it has his style.
I have heard Tich play this many times and it just has to be him
R.I.P beaut

  • 7.
  • At 03:55 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Rhodri wrote:

It's St Davids day tomorrow, why not have ONE relevant cultural news story on the eve of the day of our patron saint. I'm sure it will transpire to be rubbish, but I've seen worse on this programme and no one has ever complained before!

  • 8.
  • At 03:56 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Geraint Jones wrote:

Lighten up people! Newsnight needn't be serious news all the time. It may not be a mystery that will have us waiting with baited breath for the outcome, but to any Welsh music lover it's an interesting story.

The fact that St David's day is soon upon us also seems say that the story is relevant.

If you don't care, don't whinge. just don't watch it.

  • 9.
  • At 04:48 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • hubi wrote:

Offtopic:

Has the BBC the same owner like Fox News from the Staates? The quality of the 9/11 production witch was broadcastet a few days ago seems to be the same quality which Fox uses in their Productions.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/video/BBC-BUSTED-WTC7-911.wmv

Cheers mate!!

  • 10.
  • At 05:01 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Merthyr Bertha wrote:

It was noodle miners - during a noodle break - playing this.

  • 11.
  • At 05:30 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • neil gordon wrote:

Hendrix knew when to lay off the whammy bar, unlike this crazed Welshman!

  • 12.
  • At 05:32 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • neil gordon wrote:

Hendrix knew when to lay off the whammy bar, unlike this crazed Welshman....not a bad effort though!

  • 13.
  • At 05:39 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Lord Gidds wrote:

Who cares? Start doing some more financial news instead.

  • 14.
  • At 06:06 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • R Berrow wrote:

Like tnem or lump them . Every so often along comes a politicia who like the rest of us has faults . But that little bit of extra umph!! with them. The Labour party will find out when Tony Blair leaves his post .The wheels will come off the cart. The free for all that will follow . no matter how they shuffle the cards will not reult in a like period of time for the labour party . One can't imagine Charlse Clark as a Prime minister. He would be a target and opposed from all angles neither can I see Millebank . as a matter of fact there is plenty of ambition in the party ,but no leadership qualities. As they say the wheel of the waggon is broken RB

  • 15.
  • At 06:09 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • neyster wrote:

I just want to watch the Paxman have to do this story on Newsnight.

It was absolutely brilliant watching him 'do the weather', and I'm sure this kind of thing would be equally entertaining to watch.

I see no problem in this kind of thing being put on Newsnight, as long as the majority of the focus is on News items.

  • 16.
  • At 06:16 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Llyr wrote:

Hey Lammert, it would be relevant to Welsh people. If Hendrix had played the entire Dutch national anthem with the passion he showed when he played the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, I'm sure you'd still be talking about it. If it's a small item on the eve of St David's Day (which makes its showing relevant in itself) it's not going to hurt you - if it's that much of a problem then turn it off.

  • 17.
  • At 06:44 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Joseph Wilson wrote:

Tich Gwilym of course, anyone else is highly unlikely.

There is nothing wrong of course with Newsnight dabbling in this kind of cultural stuff...as long as you don't get carried away.

  • 18.
  • At 07:26 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Was it Dylan Thomas?

  • 19.
  • At 08:05 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Jeff Nutbeem wrote:

I will try to add weight to Mike etc - Newsnight along with the Today programme were the last bastions of sanity in a BBC News department which wants to be more like a cross between Take a Break and the Sun every day. We have enough of this shallow nonsense from Hugh and his pals at 10 o'clock. For goodness sake, it isn't even a story. Newsnight editors - there is a global shift in the markets. Tonight you should be analysing that for those of us who care.

  • 20.
  • At 08:07 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Jeff Nutbeem wrote:

I will try to add weight to Mike etc - Newsnight along with the Today programme used to be the last bastions of sanity in a BBC News department which wants to be more like a cross between Take a Break and the Sun every day. We have enough of this shallow nonsense from Hugh and his pals at 10 o'clock. For goodness sake, it isn't even a story. Newsnight editors - there is a global shift in the markets. Tonight you should be analysing that for those of us who care.

  • 21.
  • At 09:02 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Robert Evers wrote:

Let me get this straight... The country is at war, which we may have been lied to in order to go along with it, the Americans look like they're trying to start another war with Iran, and the Prime Minister may have sold honours for cash... and THIS is what the BBC is spending its time investigating?

  • 22.
  • At 10:18 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Re: comment #9 posted by hubi and titled Offtopic - What are you asking? Are you saying the report has the same format? The same production values? The same presenter? Of course the Fox Network don't own the BBC. News content may be gathered from the same source but that's about it. The clip that you included in your post is puzzling. I don't see your point at all!

"I made it up" that was the bald admission tonight on Newsnight by Martin Davies who propagated the myth that Jimi Hendrix had recorded Mae'n Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. After the supposed Hendrix track was played on Newsnight 35 million people visited his site RedDragonHood to listen for themselves. Martin told Newsnight "A lot of people had a lot of fun with it. The response from Welsh people around the world was amazing - 35 million hits on the website - I could be accused of hoaxing but it was only a bit of fun". Martin persuaded his friend John Ellis - who formed the 70s punk band the Vibrators then went on to play with the Stranglers, Peter Gabriel and many others - to play a Jimi Hendrix style version of Land of my Fathers. Martin put it on his website with a story about its discovery expecting a few hundred hits. It was meant as a small scale joke but millions of Hendrix fans around the world took up the story and Martin then felt unable to confess to the hoax until Newsnight put him on the spot.

Meirion

  • 24.
  • At 11:24 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Cerberus wrote:

Erm... i know this will probably cause an uproar but did anyone who speaks welsh see the slightly changed text on the guitarist fur dlise t-shirt? i dont think they got a welshspeaker to check the scene before they shot it. The exact translation would be man holes to the english, but man hole refers to an orifice on the human body. and its a plural. Im not racist or intend to cause uproar but i just found it amusing.

  • 25.
  • At 11:28 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • David Williams wrote:

The story was less interesting than the t-shirt. Come on BBC, someone should have got Huw Edwards to translate the t-shirt" Twll Bin Bob Sais"! School boy error. You've been well and truely had.

Happy St David's Day.

  • 26.
  • At 11:29 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Colin Bell wrote:

Well done Newsnight good to see Hendrix in the news again, interesting tale. It just didnt sound like Hendrix tho. Thanks anyway.

  • 27.
  • At 11:38 PM on 28 Feb 2007,
  • Steve Ratcliff wrote:

Newsnight got had again! The guy's Welsh T shirt slogan means "arseholes to the English".

  • 28.
  • At 04:26 PM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • BabbitCymru wrote:

So it wasn't Jimi Hendrix - boo-hoo, did you ever really believe it was??
It wasn't Tich Gwilym, either - and that's a genuine pity.

The real point - which so many of you seem to have missed - is that what started as a little joke (which was quickly debunked for the Welsh cognoscenti by 'Golwg' magazine) has actually got the terminally London-centric BBC reporting on the Welsh language and culture...

Surely that's got to be a good thing?

The brilliant opportunism shown in Martin Davies' choice of shirt was just the icing on the cake - da iawn ti, 'r hen hogyn!

  • 29.
  • At 10:58 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Giles Miskin wrote:


So glad Newsnight have cleared up another mind-blowing musical mystery.Actually ,I think we all knew the answer right from the start.

This post is closed to new comments.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites