Monday, November 18, 2019

Had They Lived: Jimi Hendrix Edition!

Photo credit: Ethan Russell

It seems the minute that Jim Hendrix died in 1970, a cottage industry sprang up overnight in order to a) profit, which it has done to the tune of $7 million per year as recently as 2011, and b) by reducing the man's entire existence down to two songs ("Purple Haze" and "The Star-Spangled Banner") and a headband.

Foregoing the raging drug addiction that killed him, where do we see Hendrix going after the psych-rock movement peters out at the tail-end of the Sixties?

It was obvious to anyone that Hendrix was well over the Experience (mostly bassist Noel Redding) and eager to find the right combination of players to help him reach the heights he was hearing in his head.

Little could Hendrix have known that the 1970s was already destined to become the decade of amplified virility, recognized the world over by the fiery pose of the almighty Guitar Hero.

What's most interesting is that Hendrix had just put the finishing touches on a custom-built state-of-the-art recording studio in the heart of Greenwich Village (Electric Lady Studios) that he only ever got to use for few months before his death.

Photo credit: Ethan Russell

While just about every major artist, from the Stones and Bowie to Lennon and Zappa, wound up recording there in the '70s and '80s anyway, how many great jam sessions, collaborations, and culture-defining moments would Hendrix have been a part of within those hallowed walls that are still home to the studio to this day.

Would he have been one of many sixties acts who enjoyed an '80s resurgence, you query?

Trust me, if the Moody Blues could be pried from their crypts for a multi-year mid-80's chart run, Hendrix could have had that entire decade wrapped around his musical finger.

Sadly, instead of having the opportunity to grow with Hendrix as his tastes and artistic vision developed in ways his early material barely hinted at, all we got was that first blinding glimpse of a star coming into existence.

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