This documentary was made three years after Jimi Hendrix's untimely death. At the time it was an example of how a visual biography should be done, but some of the information in it needs ...
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This documentary was made three years after Jimi Hendrix's untimely death. At the time it was an example of how a visual biography should be done, but some of the information in it needs revising in the light of new information uncovered over the years. The film contains concert footage spanning the Marquee in 1967 to his last UK performance at the third Isle of Wight festival in 1970; along the way we see classic performances at Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969), Fillmore East (1969/70), and Berkeley (1970). A double album was released to tie-in with the film, containing the complete performances in the film, along with interviews with people in the film (not necessarily the same interviews). The film is worth seeing for Jimi's performances, and to hear what his contemporaries have to say about him (Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Pete Townsend, and others). Written by
A recent visit to the UK allowed me to get lost among the shelves and stands of VHS, DVD and CD in a large HMV shop; however, my bank account did not allow me to get too, too lost, and after several hours I managed to emerge into the warm sunlight of high summer clutching a few bargains, among which were the irreplaceable Dame Edith Evans in her 1952 version of `The Importance of Being Ernest', some pieces I had not had by Jacqueline du Pré on CD, William Golding's classic `The Lord of the Flies' in a 1963 film version, and this British version of Jimi Hendrix, the man and his music.
This 98 minute documentary is not really biographical in the normal sense, but rather a look at the musician in his concerts in the last few years leading up to his death, together with spoken contributions by people in the music industry and others close to him, as well as his own comments with archive footage from a TV interview carried out in the USA. Including live footage from concerts at Monterey and the Marquee Club (1967), Fillmore East and Woodstock (1969), and Berkeley and the Isle of Wight (1970), the documentary includes testimonies from such well-known musicians as Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, and even Little Richard, as well as by his fellow-musicians Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Billy Cox and Buddy Miles (Band of Gypsys), with spoken participations from Fayne Pridgon and erstwhile feminist Germaine Greer.
The programme is rather marred by some shoddy editing, unfortunately, and at times the filming seems to give you the feeling that the cameraman was even more stoned than Hendrix himself. However, the end result is a satisfying run through some of his better-known material and lends insight to what made the man and the musician tick.
Jimi Hendrix was a rather shy person, basically, and indeed was so pressed by the urgency of everyone in the music business around him that in the end he just could not handle the situation. A trusting man, naïve even, he was rather easily cajoled and misled into being something he might otherwise have avoided being. A similar situation led to the end of Janis Joplin, just a year later. However, on stage, Jimi Hendrix and his Stratocaster became fused into one electrifying element that shattered all notions on what a guitar could and could not do, and thus laid the stage for those who would follow Clapton and Jagger and influencing other rock bands of the time, perhaps Big Brother and the Holding Company being one of the most obvious examples.
The post-Beatles era left an empty space searching for a new direction to take, and Jimi Hendrix was the man to do it; this ultimately led to such groups as The Who, The Cream, The Nice, Pink Floyd, and what was to become known as `New Age'.
Live performance tracks included on this tape are: Purple Haze (two different performances), Hear my train a-comin', Rock me baby, Hey Joe, Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan), his hugely famous Star-Spangled Banner, Machine Gun (two different performances), Johnny B. Goode, In from the storm, and Red House.
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