Slash once partnered with Jimi Hendrix’s bandmates for a stirring tribute cover of Hey Joe in honor of the guitar great

Slash onstage with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell
(Image credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

In 2004, British television network Channel 4 established the UK Music Hall of Fame – a somewhat ill-fated experiment into rock ‘n’ roll awards shows that lasted only three years. 

Its mission of honoring “musicians, of any nationality, for their lifetime contributions to music in the United Kingdom” was a nice idea, but one that ultimately proved unsustainable, and no match for the juggernaut that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But despite its short runtime, the UK Music Hall of Fame still managed to induct 267 musicians and artists into its short history books – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Ozzy Osbourne among them – and hosted one of the most memorable all-star tribute jams to ever grace an awards show stage.

Among the 2005 inductees was the late guitar great Jimi Hendrix, whose memory was celebrated by the UK Music Hall of Fame via a cover of his iconic track Hey Joe, which was lead by Slash.

Now, in terms of style, there’s a fairly significant difference between Hendrix and his Fender Stratocaster and Slash and his Gibson Les Paul, but the GNR rocker proved to be an excellent selection for the occasion, which gave him the opportunity to pay tribute to one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

Slash’s six-string performance wasn’t the only thing that stood out from the performance, though – for the cover, he was joined by two of Hendrix’s old bandmates.

With the help of Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass – as well as Steve Winwood behind the mic – Slash navigated Hey Joe’s chord progression with lashings of humbucker grit and a suite of blues improvisations in the spirit of Hendrix himself.

Of course, Slash and Les Paul were only ever going to sound like one thing – Slash and a Les Paul – but the goal was never to sound like Hendrix, regardless of who was occupying the rhythm section.

Instead, Slash tipped his top hat to the Stratocaster master in his own style, serving up not one but two break-neck lead passages, the latter of which saw the GNR titan close out the cover with more than three straight minutes of untethered soloing.

That second solo continued straight through to the outro riff, which Cox and Mitchell held down with polished aplomb while Slash embellished proceedings with furious fretboard flurries aplenty. 

As far as Hendrix tributes go, it’s certainly up there. Cox, one of Hendrix's bandmates during the Band of Gypsys era, was commanding in the low-end, while Mitchell – a veteran from the Experience and Woodstock days – brought energy and finesse to the rhythm section, and yet ensured the spotlight remained on Slash.

Hall of Fame awards shows seemingly have a monopoly on all-star jams, regularly hosting numerous musical heroes for blockbuster performances. One that immediately springs to mind occurred at the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which saw Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Joe Perry join Metallica for a cover of Train Kept A-Rollin’.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.