Watch Jimi Hendrix Play "Shotgun" in 1965

(Image credit: K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Getty Images)

Years before Jimi Hendrix made it big, he backed a host of other artists, including Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, Slim Harpo and Wilson Pickett.

Footage from this period is, sadly (but understandably), rare. Which is why the video below is so special.

The clip shows Hendrix backing a duo called Buddy & Stacy on a spirited rendition of Junior Walker's "Shotgun." It's from a 1965 episode of Night Train.

We never get a good, clean look at Jimi, who stands in the back line, between the drummer and the other guitarist, right in front of his Fender amp. One can't help but wish that Buddy & Stacy—aka Buddy Travis and Leroy “Stacy” Johnson Jr.—could've danced a little to the right ... or maybe even off camera somewhere.

Although Jimi is purely a sideman at this point in his career, you can hear—and feel—him being, well, Jimi Hendrix, starting around the 1:29 mark, when he riffs back and forth with the sax player. It's obvious he's dying to remove his backing-musician muzzle and go crazy.

Of course, he'd still have to put a few more years between "Shotgun" and "Machine Gun," as it were.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.