The Lost Year: The Story of the Final Months of Jimi Hendrix

As 1969 dawned, Jimi Hendrix had just come through three of the most incredible years of his life.

In 1966, after years of struggling on the black entertainment chitlin circuit, he had been plucked from a New York nightclub by Chas Chandler, former bassist with British hit makers the Animals, and whisked off to London, England, home of the Beatles, Stones, Who, Cream and all things groovy in rock.

There, Chandler fostered Hendrix’s innate songwriting gift, assembled a killer band around him and guided the guitarist through the recording of three albums—Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland—that made him not just an international superstar but also an icon of the emergent hippie counterculture.

Now, however, it was all starting to come apart. Chandler had walked out of his life and career during the making of Electric Ladyland in ’68, and Hendrix had strong suspicions that his new manager, Michael Jeffery, was scamming him.

Hendrix’s relationship with his bassist, Noel Redding, was strained to the breaking point, and the band was disintegrating before his eyes. Years of hard touring and partying had begun to take their toll, as well. Meanwhile, hippies were turning militantly political, and music was becoming angrier and more strident.

In short, Hendrix was going through some heavy changes in early 1969, and change is often both scary and exhilarating. Though the events of the past three years had radically broadened his perspective and creative vision, things hadn’t come clearly into focus yet, and Chandler was no longer around to polish the lens as he had in days gone by.

  • Part of Hendrix wanted to go back and revisit some of his older songs and do them greater justice; another part of him wanted to move in a new musical direction. He might have been asking himself, “Where is it all leading? Is this love or just confusion? Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?”
  • Actually it was a little bit of all these things.

What Jimi Hendrix would not have known in 1969 was that he had only a year left to live. His death came on September 18, 1970. He was 27. The final year and a half of his life have always been something of a musical enigma. Was he on the brink of a new creative breakthrough, or had he simply lost the plot? Officially released recordings from the period offer evidence in support of both theories. There was a mixed bag of live recordings (Woodstock and Band of Gypsys) and a half-finished studio album (The Cry of Love) but certainly no masterfully nuanced studio recordings on the order of Axis or Electric Ladyland.

Now, however, a new CD titled Valleys of Neptune offers a fresh and intriguing glimpse into this poignant last chapter of the Jimi Hendrix life story. Containing a dozen previously unreleased studio recordings, most dating from the period from 1969 to 1970, it is the latest in a series of posthumous Hendrix compilations assembled by Hendrix historian John McDermott and veteran producer Eddie Kramer, who have become the de facto curators of the Hendrix legacy in the years since 1993, when a few of the guitarist’s surviving family members regained legal control of his estate.

It is also the first Hendrix release under a new pact between Sony Music and Experience Hendrix, the company formed by the late guitarist’s family in 1993. McDermott hints that there will be many more CDs of previously unreleased Hendrix material in the future. But he wants to be clear about what Valleys of Neptune is and is not.

“People need to understand that this is not a finished, polished studio album,” he says. “But at the same time, it’s more than just one-guitar demos. There are a bunch of wonderful moments here, as long as it’s understood that we’re providing a gander at a great artist’s sketches. There is a really creative period here that isn’t well documented. Here’s a window into it.”

The 12 tracks on Valleys of Neptune cluster around two focal points: a handful of tracks cut by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience at London’s Olympic studios in February 1969, and a more extended body of recordings made between April 1969 and May 1970 at New York’s Record Plant with a revolving cast of backing musicians anchored principally by Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox, Hendrix’s old army buddy and bandmate from his days on the chitlin circuit. The odd track out on this set is “Mr. Bad Luck,” recorded by the Experience at Olympic in 1967, but McDermott justifies its inclusion on the grounds that it later morphed into “Look Over Yonder,” circa 1968, and is thus linked, albeit obscurely, to the period in question. It also doesn’t hurt it’s a tight little slice of funked-up R&B that enlivens the overall package.

Although Valleys of Neptune’s title track is missing lead guitar tracks and has a somewhat dubious fadeout, it’s one of the few completely written and, for the most part, previously unheard songs on the disc. The CD also offers a selection of instrumental sketches, the inevitable 12-bar blues, and reworkings of familiar Hendrix classics like “Stone Free,” “Fire” and “Red House.” There are no great revelations on these cuts, but the guitar work alone makes this set well worth its price.

Many of Hendrix’s solos burn with an almost desperate level of intensity and stand among his most impassioned and masterful passages of lead guitar poetry ever. We hear him trying to play himself into another dimension—or at least into the next phase of his career. Without Chandler on hand to help him articulate his vision, Hendrix in this period fell back on his oldest and truest friend: his guitar. Never a man of many words, he used the instrument to lead his fellow musicians onward, toward the glowing horizon that only he could glimpse. It’s a cliché to say that a great musician can make his guitar talk, but that’s precisely what Hendrix does.

The task of bringing these old analog tape tracks into the 21st century fell, as usual, to Eddie Kramer, the music industry vet who had engineered many of Hendrix’s original recordings back in the Sixties and oversaw the construction of Electric Lady recording studio in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village near the end of the guitarist’s life. Working with the original four-, eight-, 12- and 16-track masters, Kramer employed Burl Audio A-to-D converters to bring the tracks into the digital domain. There he worked on them in Pro Tools, employing Waves plug-ins and a variety of other software and hardware to clear away tape hiss, errant artifacts and sonic grunge accumulated during the tapes’ 40 years in the vaults, giving Hendrix’s music a fresh new remix. He has performed similar restoration feats on Hendrix’s Woodstock material and various other reissues.

Regarding his work on the Woodstock tapes, Kramer says, “In that process, I discovered different ways and means of preserving and enhancing the old analog tapes, to the extent that I now feel very confident that I can rescue stuff that was considered unrescuable in the past. Modern technology has given us some wonderful tools. John McDermott found these great old tapes, and I’ve been able to mix them in a contemporary manner, still holding on to the good stuff that we all love from the past, but incorporating some new technologies.”

Also onboard, in an advisory role, was Billy Cox, another figure who, like Kramer, knew and worked with Hendrix during his lifetime. Cox’s bass playing is heard on three of the 11 tracks that comprise Valleys of Neptune. “It’s always refreshing to hear Jimi Hendrix,” he says. “And individuals who are truly Hendrix fans should eat this CD right up, because it really is good.”

Valleys of Neptune is sequenced for maximum listenability, with the strongest and freshest material upfront. But if one really wishes to use this disc as a study in Hendrix’s creative process throughout 1969 into 1970, it’s best to consider the tracks chronologically. Fortunately, the liner notes provide full documentation of the dates, studios and personnel for each track.

With the exception of “Mr. Bad Luck,” from 1967, the earliest material here dates from February 16 and 17, 1969. On the eve of his historic concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Hendrix brought the Experience into Olympic Studios, the London facility where elements of Are You Experienced, Axis and Electric Ladyland had been recorded and which was one of the capital’s hottest recording studios at the time, home to the Stones, the Who, Traffic and even the Beatles for a few sessions. Joining Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell at Olympic was conga player Rocky Dzidzornu, perhaps best known for his signature percussion work on the Rolling Stones’ classic “Sympathy for the Devil” (where he was billed as “Rocky Dijon”). “Rocky was a session guy,” Kramer recalls. “He was a friend of Traffic. And of course Steve Winwood and Dave Mason of Traffic were close friends of Jimi and recorded with him.”

While recording Electric Ladyland in 1968, Hendrix had employed conga player Larry Faucette on “Rainy Day, Dream Away” and “Still Raining Still Dreaming.” But on those tracks, congas were part of an extended, jazzy ensemble that included organ and saxophone. But on the 1969 Olympic dates, Dzidzornu’s conga work is the sole augmentation to the Experience’s usual stripped-down, power-trio lineup, which is interesting from a rock history perspective. Cream had made the power trio the hottest instrumental configuration of the late Sixties. With only guitar, bass and drums in the lineup, each player had maximum improvisational freedom. But by 1969, the power-trio thing was starting to feel played out. After Cream’s marathon live workouts on their 1968 album Wheels of Fire and post-breakup Goodbye/Best Of/Live Cream releases, there seemed nowhere else to take the format.

Hendrix’s canny strategy was to employ congas, a percussive instrument with limited tonal range, thereby adding new instrumentation without sacrificing improvisational freedom. In this way, Hendrix and Redding were still free to roam and improvise harmonic structures at will. And while the typical musical role of congas is to provide syncopations and rhythmic subdivisions, as in “Sympathy for the Devil,” Dzidzornu often plays more of an anchoring role on these Experience dates, holding down the beat while Mitchell takes off.

“Mitch was such a unique player,” McDermott says. “There was so much going on with Mitch, particularly with his cymbal work. A traditional percussion player needed to be sensitive to that, and not just clanging away. And I think Rocky did a fine job.”

Tracks from the February 16 date included on Valleys of Neptune include “Lover Man,” a 12-bar blues that Hendrix had frequently assayed and recorded, and “Crying Blue Rain.” The latter track was so sketchy, in fact, that Chas Chandler brought Redding and Mitchell back into the studio in 1987 to rerecord their drum and bass parts, bumping the original four-track masters up to 24-track, the prevailing format in 1987. “But the original four-track master still exists,” Kramer says, “and I used bits of both [the four- and 24-track masters] in the rhythm section on that song.”

Also taken from the February 16, 1969, session at Olympic is a cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” which had become part of the Experience’s live set. This inclusion is a testimony to Cream’s pervasiveness in the late Sixties, and Hendrix’s mid-jam quotation of another Cream track, “Outside Woman Blues,” indicates that he was definitely a fan of Eric Clapton and Cream. Meanwhile, Dzidzornu’s conga work does much to enliven Redding’s obligatory extended bass solo segment.

The material from the 17th is even more familiar, with performances of “Fire” and “Red House” that are lively, if not exactly revelatory. If Hendrix had some cosmic new direction in mind in 1969, it certainly isn’t in evidence on the February sessions at Olympic. Presumably the dates were a rehearsal for the impending Albert Hall performances. But why commandeer a world-class studio to record a rehearsal? Was it just rock star extravagance? Or was Hendrix attempting to find a new direction by pushing the limits of his earlier material. Clearly he was fond of jamming as a form of creative exploration, but on these tracks the playing also seems a working out of interband tensions, as McDermott suggests: “I think you can sense the aggressive nature of these sessions. The dynamic between Jimi and Noel permeates the whole thing. They’re not on the same level. They’re playing very well, but they are certainly, at times, playing at one another. There’s a lot of drive and anger in that playing.”

It’s hard to understand today the almost sacred esteem in which jamming was held during the late-Sixties rock era. Extended instrumental improvisation didn’t have a place in rock and roll of the Fifties and early Sixties. It only entered the music circa 1966 via English groups like the Yardbirds, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience along with San Francisco bands like the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service. But once jamming hit the scene, the nascent hippie counterculture embraced it with the kind of naïve enthusiasm that only a neophyte can muster.

The practice of jamming had, of course, been adopted into rock from African-American jazz and blues, so for the primarily white hippie-era rockers and their audience, a jam had the aura of some ancient and venerable rite. It isn’t at all too extravagant to say that jamming was regarded as a kind of spiritual exercise in the late Sixties, a perception further fostered by the spiritual raga traditions of Indian classical music that had been brought into rock by George Harrison and others. Jamming was a way that a band could immediately demonstrate its authenticity or “truth.” It was believed that you could jam yourself to a higher state of awareness.

Hendrix certainly had great faith in the power of jamming. But the role of extended improvisation in the studio eventually set him at odds with both Chandler and Redding. Earlier in the Experience’s career, Hendrix and Chandler had shared a flat in London, where they spent much time together carefully routining and arranging Hendrix’s compositions. By the time they got to the studio to record Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, very little was left to chance, improvisation or the impulse of the moment.

But all that began to change during the making of Electric Ladyland. On the one hand, Hendrix’s approach became more improvisational, which of course led to the creation of Ladyland’s more extended, jammy tracks like “Rainy Day” and “1983”/“Moon Turn the Tides.” At the same time, Hendrix became obsessed with audio layering, but he did so in a very intuitive manner, allowing each new overdub to suggest a direction for subsequent enhancements, rather than planning everything out in advance. This seemed a supreme waste of precious studio time to Chandler, who’d come from the old-school, “bang ’em out quick” aesthetic of the mid-Sixties British Invasion era. This was part of the reason he walked out midway through the Electric Ladyland sessions.

Chandler’s departure, in turn, left Redding feeling a bit uneasy over the lack of any apparent structure in the musical approach. “Jimi couldn’t always articulate his direction clearly,” McDermott says. “He certainly couldn’t provide Noel with charts and say, ‘This is where we’re headed.’ Instead, I think he had to use jamming and repetition as a way of saying, ‘Okay, this is where we’re going to go.’ ”
Hendrix became a great believer in the collective vibe generated by recording takes with the entire band, something that was also a source of exasperation for Redding. “In the past they were building tracks,” McDermott says. “But now Jimi had the idea of saying, ‘I want to cut this live and I want to get this great feel.’ So there were a lot of retakes, which must have been tough for Noel. He’d say, ‘We just cut the song. If you don’t like the guitar, why don’t we just fix that part with an overdub?’ So I think there were some problems there philosophically as Jimi ascended to the role of producer. It wasn’t what Noel was used to and what, one could say, had brought them considerable success.”

Tensions between Hendrix and Redding came to a head when the Experience came to New York in April 1969. The bassist was onboard for three recordings at the New York Record Plant: the bluesy “Hear My Train A’ Comin’ ” and the riff-driven “Ships Passing Through the Night” and the instrumental sketch “Lullaby for Summer.” But shortly thereafter, Redding was out of the picture. For his replacement Hendrix called on his old pal Billy Cox, with whom he had formed a close musical bond during their years together on the chitlin circuit. Cox was living in Nashville when he received the invitation to join the guitarist.

“It was one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received,” Cox says. “Jimi could have called anybody. The greatest bass player in the world would have taken that gig. So when Jimi told me that I was the guy, I gave him 150 percent.”

And so Cox journeyed north to New York to join his old friend at the Record Plant. The studio had opened a little over a year earlier, in March 1968, and Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland was one of the first projects recorded there. As a result, Jimi felt perhaps even more at home there than he did at Olympic. Not only was the Record Plant in New York City, Jimi’s former stomping grounds, but it was also one of the first recording studios purpose-built to have a rock-star-friendly vibe. Compared to the institutional atmosphere of older studios like Abbey Road and other record company–owned facilities, the Record Plant was like a living room. Fresh up from Nashville, Cox found himself in another world entirely.

“There were no restrictions,” he recalls. “We could play as long as we wanted to. A lot of times we’d go in at eight in the evening and come out around 11 or 12 noon the next day. We accomplished a lot, too. I understand that didn’t always happen in the past. But we got a lot done.”

“I think Jimi reached out to Billy for very simple reasons,” Kramer says. “He was a friend, a compatriot, a brother-in-arms. And I think Jimi felt he could trust Billy. He was a solid citizen, and still is. A wonderful bass player. And Jimi needed that feeling of total reliability and no games. The relationship between Billy and Jimi was a close one.”

One of the earliest tracks that Cox worked on with Hendrix was “Bleeding Heart,” a funked-up soul track that is one of Valleys of Neptune’s strongest selections and clearly shows the guitarist’s blues/R&B roots. At the start he’s heard telling the musicians, “I want this to sound like Elmore James.” One can also hear the profound influence of Buddy Guy in his fleet-footed, clean, out-of-phase Strat riffing and wickedly syncopated vocal delivery. Hendrix had explored this kind of rhythmic territory on tracks like “House Burning Down” and “Come On (Part 1)” from Electric Ladyland. But this is also very much the style of music that Hendrix and Cox would have played together on the circuit, and Cox’s nimble bass work certainly enhances the stone soul vibe.

Drums and percussion on this track were provided by Rocky Issac, Chris Grimes and Al Marks of the Cherry People, an obscure late-Sixties group that Hendrix met at the Steve Paul Scene. Located just two blocks from the Record Plant in the west forties, the Scene was one of Manhattan’s hottest rock clubs at the time, and one of Hendrix’s favorite haunts. The Scene is where Jimi had collared Steve Winwood and the Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady and convinced them to come over to the Record Plant to play on the track that became “Voodoo Child.” A similar scenario led to the recording of “Bleeding Heart,” and several other tracks.

“That’s the first session where Cox comes up to New York,” McDermott says. “He comes up, they go to the Scene and they run into this guy Al Marks, who says to Jimi, ‘You don’t know me, but we met at Monterey, and I just want to say you’re really wonderful. I’m up here now with my band from Maryland.’ And Jimi says, ‘Do you have your drummer here?’ Marks replies, ‘Oh yes, he’s right over there.’ Jimi says, ‘Come on over to the Record Plant later and we’ll have a jam session.’ So that’s how all that came together.”

“Bleeding Heart” is a glowing testimony to Hendrix’s ability to pull together a great performance with what is, in essence, a pick-up band. Cox’s ability to go with the flow was certainly a factor in Jimi’s ability to make it happen with the Cherry People and the various other ad hoc backing ensembles he cobbled together in 1969 and 1970. Unlike Redding, Cox wasn’t perturbed by the lack of premeditation or apparent structure in such proceedings. “There were no chord charts, but we were in one accord,” he says. “That’s the only way I can explain it. You have to spiritually be in one accord when you’re in the studio. Jimi knew I was that way and I could work with him.”

Hendrix’s tight musical rapport with Cox and general tendency toward a more overt R&B direction circa 1969 is further demonstrated by a reworking of “Stone Free” that’s also included on Valleys of Neptune. A very early Hendrix composition, “Stone Free” was originally recorded in 1966 as the B-side to the “Hey Joe” single, and thus it received scant exposure. However, it did get some attention in the U.S. from its inclusion on the 1969 “best-of” compilation Smash Hits. Hendrix had never been completely satisfied with the original recording and devoted quite a bit of attention to remaking “Stone Free” at the Record Plant in April 1969.

“We all knew how the original cut was,” Cox says. “But Jimi said, ‘C’mon, let’s give it a little soul, Billy!’ ”

Hendrix ups the tempo considerably, compared to the 1966 version, resulting in an Isley Brothers soul revue feel that seems almost rushed. Mitch Mitchell is on the drum kit, as he was for the original, but instead of the driving cowbell groove heard on the verses of the 1966 recording, he favors a more syncopated half-time feel, with a heavy kick drum and side-stick pattern. On the original, the killer chorus vocal line was belted out with roughshod garage band panache that seemed well-suited to the song’s mood of almost adolescent defiance. On the 1969 version, though, the chorus is delivered more as a Curtis Mayfield smooth soul falsetto refrain, with harmonies from Andy Fairweather Low and Roger Chapman of the English rock group Family.

All in all, it’s an interesting alternate take, although fans of mid-Sixties rock may still favor the original. What’s puzzling is why Hendrix would be sufficiently obsessed with this early composition to devote four sessions to the song. While a decent enough tune, it’s certainly not on the order of mature Hendrix songwriting triumphs like “Castles Made of Sand” or “House Burning Down.” Nor was it likely that the record company would be very interested in releasing an alternate version of a song that had already appeared on two previous releases. In all of this, one senses the lack of Chandler’s guidance in identifying and developing Hendrix’s most promising material.
Nor was Eddie Kramer always on hand. While the Record Plant sessions were taking place in 1969, Kramer was hard at work supervising the construction of Hendrix’s own studio, Electric Lady, downtown in Greenwich Village. At the board for many of Hendrix’s Record Plant sessions were the studio’s co-founder Gary Kellgren, a superb session and audio design engineer in his own right, and staffer Jack Adams, among others.

“I wasn’t always available to be with Jimi in the studio,” Kramer explains. “He’d basically call me when he was in trouble. Because, quite frankly, I think a lot of the other guys were sort of letting him loose, which in one way was a good thing. But in another way, there was no structure. And I know he always responded much better when I was there, because I kept him focused. We had a good rapport.”
Many of Hendrix’s activities in mid 1969 certainly bear out Kramer’s contention that there tended to be a lack of structure once Jimi was left unsupervised. Perhaps nothing illustrates this tendency better than the short-lived band Gypsy Sun and Rainbows.

Even before the Jimi Hendrix Experience officially disbanded—following their final gig at the Denver Pop Festival on June 27, 1969—and up until the time of Hendrix’s death, there was really no stable band lineup behind Hendrix. Cox was pretty constant, but other people came and went. Players drifted over from the Steve Paul Scene and elsewhere. Sometimes Mitch Mitchell was on the drum kit; sometimes it was Buddy Miles.

So it was that in the summer of 1969, Hendrix assembled a ramshackle group of buddies in his upstate New York retreat near Woodstock for the purpose of performing at the upcoming Woodstock festival. For the first time since his breakthrough in 1966, Jimi had a second guitarist in the lineup, his old pal Larry Lee, then fresh out of the army. Pursuing his love of congas even further than he had in the past, Hendrix recruited two conga men, Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan. For a while a keyboardist named Gerry Guida was in the picture, although he didn’t make it to the actual gig at Woodstock. Up until the last minute, nobody was sure if Mitchell or Miles was going to be on drums. (Mitchell ended up making the gig.) All things considered, it was not a recipe for musical triumph.

“We tried to get it together,” Cox says. “We practiced, learned the parts and had fun. Some days we would take off and not do anything. But we practiced more than we didn’t do anything, because we knew that we had a purpose and reason for being there.”
Hangers-on had always been a problem for Hendrix, a guy who was, by all reports, too kind-hearted and shy to turn anyone away. This became a further distraction at the retreat house. “The fans and the groupies, they always seek you out no matter where you are,” Cox says. “If one person knows you’re there—whether it’s a cook, a driver, a bodyguard or what have you—then everybody knows. That goes with the territory.”

So the scene was far more chaotic than even the wildest jam night at the Record Plant. Some of the rehearsal tapes Hendrix made at the retreat were stolen. “I asked for a two-track [recorder] to be sent,” Cox says. “They sent us one, and we recorded a lot of stuff. But someone broke into the house one night, and a lot of that stuff was taken out of there.”

Bootlegs that have surfaced offer scant evidence of musical magic being wrought up in Hendrix’s wooded retreat. This impression is borne out by the uneven Woodstock performance. At times it’s almost painful to watch. Hendrix barely holds the thing together, through sheer force of will and his own prodigious talent. His iconic solo rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was a huge success precisely because it was a solo turn. Hendrix simply cut his substandard backing band loose and took off on his own.

“On that song,” Cox says, “Jimi started, and I played five or six notes and realized, Wait a minute, we never rehearsed this before. And I stopped playing. It was the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ I didn’t know he was going to do that. He didn’t either.”

Not surprisingly, then, when Hendrix returned to the Record Plant, post-Woodstock, on September 23, 1969, he did not bring the full complement of Gypsy, Sun and Rainbows with him. He’d stripped the lineup back down to Mitchell, Cox and Juma Sultan on congas.
With these musicians, he began work on “Valleys of Neptune,” which has now become the title track of this latest posthumous Hendrix CD. From a songwriting perspective, “Valleys” is up to Hendrix’s highest standards, a recording that wouldn’t have been out of place on Electric Ladyland. This is no fragment or sketchy jam but a fully realized song with verses and choruses all in place, plus a catchy chord progression and a first-rate melody married to some of those interplanetary cosmic bluesman lyrical tropes that Jimi did so well. It’s a pity he didn’t overdub leads in the breaks, middle breakdown and outro segments that were so clearly left open for a little Hendrix guitar magic. You can almost hear them in the silence—little curling tendrils of backward guitar and bursts of liquid fire.

Cox says, “We ultimately did not finish ‘Valleys of Neptune,’ but we had what you’d call a basic work track. We would always try to put down a work track and go from there. And we knew there were some more things we had to do on there to make it more musical.”
So those final overdubs and guitar leads on “Valleys of Neptune” must forever be those that echo only in the imaginations of Hendrix’s listeners and fans. Who knows? Jimi himself might have even grooved on that idea.

And there is every indication that Hendrix’s music will live on to excite the imaginations of music lovers not yet born, reaching the ears of fans in far corners of this world and maybe even worlds yet to be discovered. Experience Hendrix’s new deal with Sony Music would seem to guarantee that.

McDermott says, “All of us at Experience Hendrix were impressed with some of the digital initiatives and approaches that Sony are planning with respect to Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan. It seemed like a good opportunity to expose Jimi’s music to as broad an audience as possible, particularly internationally. Going forward, this is a changing market for music, which is in itself a challenge. I think the cool part of that is being able to make Hendrix immediately accessible to younger generations, especially in their native languages, so that, through the web and other digital initiatives, people can learn about Jimi in Dutch, Japanese or Italian. Jimi is truly a global artist. It’s important that that part of his legacy be allowed to thrive.”

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Alan di Perna

In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, and He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.