We commemorate many iconic concerts here, but sometimes a particular concert just stands out.
This is one of those times. When Jimi Hendrix first came to England after being discovered by Chas Chandler, the word was out that a phenomenal guitar player from the United States who could play the guitar behind his back and even with his teeth was in town. Jimi created a buzz with a handful of small-venue appearances, including the now legendary jam with Cream which had left Eric Clapton gobsmacked at his prowess.
On January 11, 1967, the newly formed Jimi Hendrix Experience spent a full day of recording 'Purple Haze' and 'The Wind Cries Mary' at DeLane Lea Studios. Hendrix later stated 'The Purple Haze,' was about a dream he had and that he was walking under the sea." In concert, Hendrix sometimes substituted lyrics for comic effect; "'scuse me while I kiss the sky" was rendered "'scuse me while I kiss this guy" (while gesturing towards his drummer Mitch Mitchell).
Later that day, after recording 'Purple Haze', The Jimi Hendrix Experience then performed two shows at the venerable Bag O’Nails, a tiny but influential music business Mecca in London’s Soho. Hendrix continued to make waves in the local music scene, and whenever possible, a large group of fellow musicians would attend The Experience’s shows. Virtually every major British blues guitarist found themselves at this performance. The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were in attendance, as was The Who’s Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, The Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman, Cream’s Eric Clapton, Lulu, The Animal’s Eric Burdon, Georgie Fame, Geno Washington, Denny Lane, and Donovan.
"We were all hanging out at The Bag O’Nails: Keith, Mick Jagger. Brian [Jones] comes skipping through, like, all happy about something. Paul McCartney walks in. Jeff Beck walks in. I thought, “What’s this? A bloody convention or something?” Here comes Jim, one of his military jackets, hair all over the place, pulls out this left-handed Stratocaster, beat to hell, looks like he’s been chopping wood with it. And he gets up, all soft-spoken. And all of a sudden, “WHOOOR-RRAAAWWRR!” And he breaks into Wild Thing, and it was all over. There were guitar players weeping. They had to mop the floor up. He was piling it on, solo after solo. I could see everyone’s fillings falling out. When he finished, it was silence. Nobody knew what to do. Everybody was dumbstruck, completely in shock." Terry Reid, Vocalist
It was the birth of heavy.
Every major British blues guitarist found himself rethinking his musical direction. Inevitably, the purists would continue to recycle the past and the unimaginative would slavishly emulate Hendrix, but a handful of inspired innovators would choose to fashion their own unique styles until, out of that seething maelstrom of creativity, heavy blues would be born. Artist Rhys Cooper took on the task of creating an official commemorative poster for this event:
"Over the years I have been blessed to work with some amazing and iconic bands but when you get asked to do something official for Jimi Hendrix it was a lot to process. For a man who is basically a rock God, a being of myth and legend who appeared in a purple haze of smoke like a genie of creativity and explosion, one sadly who's fire was gone way too soon, to say I've been humbled is fair. An honour to work on, hopefully my art captures a fraction of the colour and splendour that the great man gave to the world." - Rhys Cooper
Holographic sticker on back of print for authenticity