The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jerry Hall marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix (18 September 1970) by considering his legacy as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th Century. Recollections from musicians who experienced the thrill of seeing Jimi play live, provide an eyewitness account that captures the chaos and excitement of Hendrix's career.
The programme charts a chronological path through Jimi's most important performances, beginning with his career as a backing musician for some of the biggest names in soul music and R&B including Ike & Tina Turner, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, The Isley Brothers, BB King and Jackie Wilson.
By 1966 Jimi was performing with his own band Jimmy James and The Blue Flames in the Cafe Wha? in New York's Greenwich Village, when he was spotted by Keith Richard's girlfriend Linda Keith. She mentioned Jimi to The Animals bass player Chas Chandler who was so impressed that he signed Jimi to a management deal and brought him to London in Sept 1966.
One of Jimi's first gigs was to jam on the track Killing Floor with Cream at the Regent Polytechnic. Eric Clapton was particularly impressed and that week took Pete Townshend to see Jimi play at the Scotch of St James. Jimi's showmanship and virtuosity was a massive influence on dozens of the leading names in British rock and those who flocked to see Jimi play included David Gilmour, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Roger Daltrey, Phil Collins, Spencer Davis, Jeff Beck, Brian Jones, Donovan and Lulu.
In early 1967 Jimi supported the Walker Brothers on their farewell tour and at the Finsbury Park Astoria set fire to his guitar - a stunt he would repeat several times in the following years. Later that year Paul McCartney persuaded the organisers of the Monterey Pop Festival to book Jimi and his performance was acclaimed as a high point of the festival which led to him being booked for every major music festival including Woodstock and Isle of Wight.
Contributors to this programme include Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney (who saw Jimi's London gig on the weekend that Sgt Pepper's was released and Jimi played the album's title track), Monterey Festival organiser Lou Adler, Andy Fairweather Low, Tom McGuinness, Michael Wadleigh (who filmed Jimi at Woodstock), Donovan, (who was on stage with Jimi at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970), Eric Burdon, Phil Manzanera, Marsha Hunt, Eddie Kramer, Nigel Kennedy, John Giddings, Michael Lydon, David Crosby, Keith Altham and 'Tappy' Wright as well as archive interviews with Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding and Chas Chandler.