November 3, 2010

Jimi Hendrix: The music fan

In the current musical climate, fans are inundated with an unprecedented number of new bands and songs everyday, thanks to an accessibility created by a "series of tubes." Because of our over-saturation and obsession with what's new (especially mine), it can be refreshing to occassionally turn back the clock. So today is all about Jimi Hendrix: the man, the legend, but mostly, the music fan.

When he wasn't lighting guitars on fire, tonguing gnarly riffs or partying with groupies, Hendrix was just your average music-obsessed record collector with a soft side for the Bee Gees. In the '90s, longtime girlfriend Kathy Etchingham sold about a 100 of Hendrix's records from their various apartments together to Seattle's Experience Music Project. The collection, particularly heavy on blues greats (like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Lightnin' Hopkins), also featured jazz (Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith), soul (Otis Redding, Nina Simone) and progressive folk (Tim Buckley, Roy Harper). And of course, plenty of Hendrix's favorite Bob Dylan, including Greatest Hits, Highway 61 Revisited, Nashville Skyline, and John Wesley Harding.

"Sometimes I do a Dylan song and it seems to fit me so right that I figure maybe I wrote it," Hendrix told Beat Instrumental magazine in 1969. "Dylan didn't always do it for me as a singer, not in the early days, but then I started listening to the lyrics. That sold me."


According to Etchingham though, Hendrix's all-time favorite albums didn't belong to a musician, but rather, a comedian—Bill Cosby. "Jimi's absolute favorites," said Etchingham of Hendrix's Cosby records. "He just loved them, and he'd play them for everyone who came by our flat."

As for the Bee Gees, their soft rock debut was one of the first additions to Hendrix's collection. "We used to listen to that quite a lot," said Etchingham. "Jimi thought their harmonies were really great."

Hendrix, never shy to share his influences, played many a cover from a wide variety of artists over the course of his storied career. Here are a few cuts taken from the rare BBC Sessions and his recordings with Curts Knight, dubbed the PPX Studio Recordings.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Get Out of My Life Woman" (Allen Toussaint)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (The Four Tops)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "I Was Made To Lover Her" (Stevie Wonder, who's on drums)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" (Bob Dylan)

The Icemen - "(My Girl) She's A Fox" (1966 single recorded with a 24-year-old Hendrix on guitar)

Sources: Guitar Player magazine, 1996; Recordmecca, 2010

The Jimi Hendrix Experience


  1. How cool...I never would have thought that these were some of Jimi Hendrix's favorite albums! He is by far one of the greatest musicians and I cannot wait until "West Coast Seattle Boys" comes out next week!

  2. The Jimi Hendrix Anthology is coming out next week!! I can't wait!