Jimi Hendrix, a man with virtuoso ability when it comes to guitar. A man who arguably defines one of the most culturally important and vibrant decades of all time, the 1960s.
Oozing with the utmost sex appeal and coolness, he was partly responsible for bringing psychedelia, into the mainstream. Oh and I heard he enjoyed his drugs?
A couple of memorable moments that stick out of his relatively short tenure as the ultimate rock god:
Dousing his Fender Stat with lighter fuel and setting it alight at the London Astoria, 1967. If anything epitomises the daring and outrageous ideologies of rock and roll, squatting over an iconic guitar as flames lick around the fretboard has to be up there with the best.
Covering Sgt. Peppers in front of eyes of two Beatles. The album had been released three days earlier, and was already being considered an all time classic (this is something I disagree with by the way, but this about Jimi and not the ‘Fab 4’) McCartney and Harrison, among other musical pioneers, were in attendance at London’s Saville Theatre to witness one of the boldest and cheeky covers of all time. As his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, came on stage, few would have expected them to rip straight into the opening track of Sgt. Peppers, a song apparently rehearsed minutes before going on stage. If you’re going to shock, impress and delight anyone in music, you might as well make it The Beatles.
As undignified as his death might have been, his influence on music and popular culture simply cannot be ignored.
And so I was made to feel slightly uneasy when watching the video for his ‘new’ material. Posthumous releases are fine in my opinion; from Jeff Buckley’s ‘Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk’ to Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings’. They’re an excellent way to generate publicity and buzz, hopefully enticing young people to get into the music for the first time.
Okay, all’s well there. But as I said before, it’s the video. There’s something really crass and tacky about editing clips of Hendrix so to make it look as though he’s playing at a modern day Glastonbury, it’s almost as though his image is being taken advantage of.
I can’t really decide whether I’m being old fashioned or not, but it just seems that his life is worthy enough to treasure already, rather than using digital gimmicks to try and enhance it.
It’s an ongoing problem, with Rock Band depicting Kurt Cobain as one of the characters, and Hendrix is soon to follow. I’ve also just seen a Citroen advert with a clip of John Lennon, I’m sorry but what on earth? Where does a car manufacturer like Citroen gain the arrogance to preach Lennon at us?
Instead of all this pretentious nonsense, let’s just all listen to Electric Ladyland or Revolver, and pay our respects that way.