The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Jimi Hendrix Experience - Biography

Jimi Hendrix

Gigs at the Marquee club: 4
Period of performances: 1967
Line-up members at the Marquee club:
Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocals), Noel Redding (bass), Mitch Mitchell (drums).

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle, Washington, on the 27th of November, 1942, Jimi Hendrix has been considered as the most influential guitarist in the history of rock music and one of the most important icons from the late 60's.

Jimi Hendrix parents were divorced when Jimi was 9 years old and since them he lived with his father along with two brothers. Seven years later Jimi's mother died in Seattle. At this stage his father gave him a ukelele, which was followed by the acquisition of his first acoustic guitar.

Soon later he joined his first band, The Velvetones. In 1959, his father gave him his first electric guitar and Jimi went to join the band Rocking Kings, later known as Thomas & The Tomcats.

In 1960 Jimi quit the high school studies and a year later he joined the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army where he received parachute training. A year later he broke his ankle in a parachute jump and became discharged from out of the army and started working as a session musician in different clubs in Nashville. He also joined the rhythm and blues band Bobby Taylor and The Vancouver and later formed the King Kasuals. During 1963, Hendrix did several studio sessions in New York, including recordings for Lonnie Youngblood. A year later he joined the Isley Brothers and later worked for musicians such as Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and Little Richard. The later one fired him in 1965 after Jimi missed the bus after a New York show.

In July 1965, Jimi Hendrix signed a two-year recording deal with rhythm and blues label Sue Records in New York. During this period he met rhythm and blues singer Curtis Knight, who invited him to join his band, the Squires, recording several studio and live sessions over the next few months and he also worked to Carl Holmes and The Commanders, later known as the Rainflowers, and Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.

In June 1966 Keith Richards' girlfriend, Linda Keith, watched Jimi Hendrix play live in Manhattan and back in the UK she endorsed the guitarist to the Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Oldham but he showed no interest. Linda got the attention of the bass player from the Animals, Chas Chandler, and both of them took a trip to New York to see Hendrix perform with Jimmy James and the Blue Flames at the Cafe Wah in Greenwich Village. Chandler got so impressed with the talent of the left handed guitarist that he decided to become his manager, taking him to London in September 1966 where he debuted at the Blaise's club. Chandler formed a backing band for Hendrix called the Experience, including bassist Noel Redding and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. The latest was replaced a month later by Mitch Mitchell. The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded their first and legendary single "Hey Joe" in October 1966, which was produced by Chas Chandler and featured the vocal support from the Breakaways.

The Jimi Hendrix Experienced performed at the Marquee club for the first time on the night of the 24th of January, 1967. This was the first of just three appearances at the Marquee, but Hendrix took the club by storm and broke all the records of attendance attracting 1,400 people. This show has remained as one of the most important moments in the history of the club and rock music. By word of mouth, every guitarist in the city had heard about the wonders of this American black guitarist and was there. Five days later, on the 29th of January, 1967, Jimi Hendrix protagonized an historical event at the Marquee club announced as The Battle of the Bands. The event was an special tribute memorial show to the infamous manager of the Beatles, Brian Epstein, who had passed away on 27th of August 1967, and it featured an historical jam session with the Who.

Jimi Hendrix at the Marquee

Jimi Hendrix at the Marquee, March 1967

On March the 2nd, 1967, Jimi Hendrix played a private performance at the Marquee club for the shooting of the German TV show Beat Club, which included the performance of the songs "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze". After this gig Hendrix started his first UK tour as supporting act for the Walker Brothers and coinciding with the release of the first album "Are You Experienced?". After his legendary appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in California and a U.S. tour supporting the Monkees, Jimi Hendrix appeared played his third and last memorable concert at the Marquee club on the 24th of October 1967, supported by the Nice and coinciding with the release of his second album "Axis: Bold As Love".

By this stage Jimi Hendrix was confirmed as an international star who had changed the shape of pop music with his revolutionary guitar sound and wild musical expression, influencing a whole generation of artists even today. As a live guitarist, Hendrix changed the conception of the performer with his personal stage appearance that included playing with his teeth, behind his back and burning his guitar.

In October 1968 Hendrix third album, "Electric Ladyland", was released followed by the scandal of the picture of the sleeve showing naked women. During the next months Hendrix produced an album for Cat Mother & The All Nigh Newsboys in New York, and several songs for the Buddy Miles Express. In June 1969 Noel Redding was replaced by Billy Cox and by August the line-up was extended with guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez. The new backing band was called Gypsy Sons & Rainbows Band and debuted at the Woodstock festival in New York. This lineup was replaced later in November by the Band Of Gypsys, consisting of Billy Cox, Juma Sultan and drummer Buddy Miles, and later recorded the album "Band of Gypsies".

By 1970 Jimi Hendrix's shows started showing trouble due to his drug consumation. In New York he left the stage after two songs and soon later the Band Of Gypsys disbanded. In February 1970, Jimi Hendrix announced the reformation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Four months later Hendrix inaugurated his own Electric Lady Studios in New York, where he later recorded his last recordings. By August he appeared at the legendary Isle Of Wight festival in England causing the criticism of the press media for the poor performance. A month later Hendrix had to leave the stage at a show in Aarhus, Denmark, after a heavy dose of sleeping pills. A few days later at the Fenham festival in Germany, Hendrix was booed by the audience. On September the 17th 1970 Jimi Hendrix played his last show at Ronnie Scott's club in London, jamming with Eric Burdon and War. The day after, he was found unconscious in the room of the Samarkand Hotel in London after having vomited in his sleep due to barbiturate intoxication and he was taken to St. Mary Abbot's Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead. Jimi Hendrix was buried on the 1st of October 1970 in Greenwood Cemetary, Renton, Seattle.

Mitch Mitchell is considered one of the most innovative and influential drummers in the history of rock music. After Hendrix's death he quit the music business. Noel Redding formed the band Fat Mattress, which performed at the Marquee club in 1969 and 1970. In 1972 he moved to Los Angeles where he joined the heavy metal band Road, releasing the album "Kama Sutra" (1972). He later moved to his homeland in Ireland and formed the Noel Redding Band, featuring Eric Bell from Thin Lizzy, Dave Clark and Les Samson. He has also recorded and toured as a solo artist through the years and collaborated in several albums. Noel Redding died at his home in Ireland at the age of 57 on the 11th of May 2003.


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Jimi Hendrix Experience gigs at the Marquee Club