Half a century without Jimi Hendrix

Half a century without Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix besides being a exceptional guitarist level, was a artist ahead of his time, both on and off stage. His presence, his magnet before spotlights and cameras and, also, having a biography that predicted what usually happens to many geniuses, that is, that everything happens in a lightning way, made him a star in life and a myth after it.

Because everything went very fast – like other professional and period colleagues, such as Janis Joplin or Jim Morrison – in the existence and musical career of Jimi Hendrix, whose anniversary was fulfilled on September 18. half a century after his death and last November 27 the 78th anniversary of his birth. Very attractive person with a very convulsive biography, her musical career was short in time but as intense as it was brilliant. And how has happened since died in 1970 –The following year, two posthumous albums were released, The cry of love and Rainbow bridge, and War heroes a year later – the sound and visual material that has been published up to the present with him and his music as protagonists has been constant.

The expensive construction of his recording studio in New York led to Jimi Hendrix’s participation in the hippy film ‘Rainbow bridge’

A few days ago, a simultaneous double release saw the light, both published by Sony, consisting of the documentary film Music, Money, Madness… Jimi Hendrix in Maui and in the album Live in Maui . The film revolves around the unusual visit of the Jimi Hendrix Experience to the hawaiian island of maui at the end of July 1970 and how they ended up starring a bit without wanting or drinking it in the movie Rainbow bridge produced by its controversial manager Michael Jeffery.

The antecedents explain that presence. By the middle of that year the guitarist was already working with the rest of the members of his group The Jimi Hendrix Experience (drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox) on the songs of his new album, acted in the main festivals Americans and was engrossed in building your own recording studio, the then famous Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan.

The point is that this last project was extremely expensive. According to the official narrative, the controversial Hendrix manager, Michael Jeffery, requested an advance of half a million dollars from Warner Bros to finance the last phase of the study. And at those meetings, Jeffery convinced Warner to fund a movie titled Rainbow bridge which was to be shot on the island of Maui, in exchange for the rights to its soundtrack with the new Hendrix studio recordings.

Album cover featuring the two performances of the Jimi Hendrix Experience on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 1970


The aforementioned film directed by Chuck Wein, a disciple of Andy Warhol, and inspired by Easy rider it was a mix of happy flower, yoga, tai-chi, non-professional actors, rainbows, etc. As the Jimi Hendrix Experience already had a closed concert in Hawaii on August 1, Chuck Wein managed to convince each other to perform a few days earlier in Maui on an impressive stage on the side of a volcano as a“Color / sound vibratory experiment”.

The documentary Music, Money, Madness… Jimi Hendrix in Maui collects that participation, the atmosphere generated and the little madness that Rainbow bridge (which later became a commercial puncture). And the album Live in Maui works as a splendid state of affairs of the band: the two complete concerts with magnificent versions of classics what the public asked like Foxy lady, Purple haze O Voodoo child (slight return), Amen of two no less fascinating premieres What Dolly Dagger and Freedom.

The live album ‘Live in Maui’ brings together impressive versions of classics such as ‘Purple haze’ or ‘Foxy lady’ alongside the premieres of ‘Dolly Dagger’ and ‘Freedom’

After the island experience, Hendrix returned to New York where he officially opened his studies on August 25; then went to England to perform with Cox and Mitchell at the festival de Wight and start a European tour that he abandoned shortly after. Came back to london, where would pass away unexpectedly and still unclear the September 18, 1970.

A hallucinogenic approach

Taking advantage of the half century of his death, another way of getting closer and knowing more about the genius is what the British proposes Mick Wall on Two riders were approaching. Life and death of Jimi Hendrix (Editorial Alliance). A work that avoids the biographical convention and proposes a very hendrixiano to the figure of the Seattle musician, that is, spasmodic, romantic, at times almost hallucinogenic and with so many inputs and forward-backward jumps that are hopelessly hooked. It is also possible that for the latter to occur it is necessary to know the essential traits of the person and the basics of his musical work. In any case, a portrait showing that Hendrix was also someone from flesh, bone, vices and defects, inclined to also deal with managers, groupies or gangsters. And he proposes some possible explanation for his never resolved and untimely death in 1970.

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Half a century without Jimi Hendrix