Thursday, August 20, 2020

He's walkin' through the clouds... 50 Years

Lansdowne Crescent
On the morning of September 21, 1966, a Pan Am airliner from New York landed at Heathrow carrying among its passengers an American musician barely known in his own country and a complete stranger to England. His name was James Marshall Hendrix.

On September 18, 1970, four years later, came a story of extreme urgency on the front page of the London Evening Examiner and a photo of Hendrix playing the Isle of Wight festival, only 18 days earlier. The text reported how Hendrix had died that morning in a hotel on Lansdowne Crescent in Notting Hill.

During those three years, 362 days living in London, Hendrix had conjured – with his vision and sense of sound, his personality and genius – the most extraordinary guitar music ever played, indeed the most remarkable soundscape ever created. Opinion varies only over the effect his music has on people: elation, fear, sexual stimulation, sublimation, disgust – all or none of these – but always drop-jawed amazement.

Nearly 50 years later, nothing really has changed. We ponder whether the true guitar master is Clapton or David Gilmour, Jack White or Steve Howe, but no one questions Jimi's impact, his mastery or sell-your-soul-to-the-devil virtuosity.