Just before Christmas, 1966, Jimi Hendrix, a relatively unknown guitarist, who had just arrived in Britain from America, sat in the dressing room of the Upper Cut Club in Forest Gate. Chas Chandler, who had discovered Jimi in the USA, was walking through his dressing room, heard Jimi strumming the first few chords and the main riff from Purple Haze….the legend was born!
When, on March 17, 1967, the single was released in the UK, it quickly rose to number three in the British record chart. This video begins only a few months later in the Marquee Club but goes on to show why Jimi is so revered by guitarists even today.
His style, unique at the time but much copied now, combines lead guitar and rhythm guitar so that sound of the band is full and exciting, even though it has only guitar, bass and drums.
Here’s another clip showing Jimi at Woodstock, which was the world’s first rock festival, in New York state in 1969. Over half a million people were in the audience that weekend.
When Jimi died of a drugs overdose in London on September 18, 1970, he was only 27 years old.
The Upper Cut Club itself lasted just over a year.