Rock began with The Who. There'd never been that kind of showmanship before, such wanton onstage destruction. Hendrix took Townshend's guitar bashing and made it his own. Ooh look, there's Jimi setting light to his guitar at Monterey!
Back in the USA, Hendrix loved those white guitar players from across the Atlantic. Beck and Clapton were taking the blues and making them accessible to a British audience. Their guitar heroics were wowing the kids.
Big Chas Chandler brought Hendrix to England. Hendrix blew away those white kids. He got up on stage with Cream and played so brilliantly, Clapton was left speechless and shaking in the dressing room.
Let's hear what Jeff Beck said about him in one of the programmes old pieces of footage:-
"The fact that he was doing things so upfront and so wild and unchained and sort of...that's what I wanted to do, but I'd been British and a victim of the class system and whatever, you know, the poxy old schools we used to go to. I couldn't do what he did. And I just went away from there thinking I'd better think of something else to do."
Sorry, Jeff. You can't blame your lack of genius on your upbringing. Maybe if you'd joined the Air Force like Jimi you would have turned out wild and untamed? No, I didn't think so! You're a decent guitarist. Let's leave it at that, shall we?
Hendrix was so enamoured by Dylan, he took Blowin' in the Wind to a Harlem discotheque. The dj put the record on and Jimi was chased out of the place.
He didn't really belong in discos. He belonged with the white kids who couldn't dance to save their lives. Actually, is there any evidence that Hendrix himself could dance? Although in his early career he played backing guitar for various blues, soul and R&B bands, there's no evidence that he knew how to strut his stuff. Maybe his two left feet led him to play with the English boys.
This programme, the first in a series of seven, is a pretty earnest opener. No wonder when it is overseen by and features many earnest quotes by Charles Shaar Murray. A very serious rock journalist, Mr Murray. No room for fripperies here.
Tragically, when the drugs and the darkness took over, Jimi couldn't hack it and choked on his own vomit.
I suppose they had to bring that up!
Some book reviews
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