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Hendrix hits

Hendrix hits

Any Jimi Hendrix fan worth his or her salt will probably already know that this year would have been the iconic rock star’s 70th birthday. What they might not yet be aware of, however, is that from 27 July to 26 August, they will have a rare opportunity to view a mixture of images, artefacts and multimedia exhibits relating to the nine months in 1967 that Hendrix spent in London.

Behind the exhibition is Seattle-based museum EMP, who have a permanent Hendrix collection (as well as a major Nirvana retrospective showing). For the first time, EMP have brought together this collection to be displayed at The Hospital Club, the private members club in London’s Covent Garden. Non-members and members can attend the exhibition, which includes rare posters, records, tabloids and photographs, as well as oral histories from Bootsie Collins, Al Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Charles Shaar Murray, Joey Ramone, Henry Rollins and Ravi Shankar.

Some of the exhibit highlights include various 12-inch blues records from Hendrix’s personal record collection, as well as the green and the striped Dandie fashion jackets that Hendrix wore and which have never been displayed previously in Europe or the UK.

Perhaps most exciting for die-hard fans, though, is the opportunity to get up close with two broken guitar shards of the Stratocaster that Hendrix broke at the Saville Theatre on 4 June 1967. Here he opened the set with a cover version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (knowing that Paul McCartney and George Harrison were actually in attendance), as a nod to the massive influence of the Beatles, who had released their new album three days prior.

At the end of the set, to the last notes of ‘Are You Experienced?’, Hendrix smashed his poetry-inscribed, psychedelic guitar and made an offering of the fragments to the screaming audience – a fitting adieu to a city and scene that had given Hendrix so much.

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