Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

We all know his National Anthem.

Imagine if he’d played Happy Birthday?

November 27, 1942

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Too often media ask us questions like "Who is the greatest guitar player of all time?" The answer, of course, depends on many things: who is asking? Who is answering? What does greatest mean?

Perhaps the better questions is "Who is the most influential guitarist of all time?" or simply, "What guitarist influenced you the most?"

Graffiti said Eric Clapton was "God." Woodstock devotees likely answer Hendrix.

I think it's better to avoid the whole question and admit what all must: Hendrix was an amazing, groundbreaking, and immensely influential guitarist.

Buddy Guy was one of Hendrix's influences. 

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

There were many performers lined up for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair that easily convinced me that I had to attend. The Who. Jefferson Airplane. Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The Band. 

At the top of that list was Jimi Hendrix.

Joe Cocker played. The skies darkened and torrents fell. Tired, wet, hungry, worried whether our car was still parked on the side of the road nine miles away, having to be at work in 1 4 hours, friend Tony and reluctantly left Max's field that muddy Sunday afternoon and headed back to Jersey. No Hendrix.

1967 New York Rock Festival
Jimi Hendrix

I have been very fortunate in many ways and missing Hendrix simply meant I did not see him a second time. On August 23, 1968 I saw the Experience with the Soft Machine, the Chambers Brothers, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Big Brother featured, of course, Janis Poplin. That's how the program listed Joplin. Twice.

Jimi Hendrix

Though no Woodstock, the New York Rock Festival was drier and we didn't have to walk nine miles to get to our seats. A great night.

I was on my dorm's elevator that September 18 when I heard Jimi had died.   I was on the same elevator 16 days later when I heard Janis died. Two of the greatest to many Boomers. Two of the greatest to anyone with ears to listen.

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

September 6, 1970
Hendrix’s last live concert song

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

Open Air Love and Peace

Isle of Fehmarn, Germany

4, 5, & 6 September 1970

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

 

Isle of Wight

Just as Woodstock had inspired other young entrepreneurs to try their hand at organizing their own festivals, the Isle of Wight's festivals, particularly 1970's, inspired Helmut Ferdinand, Christian Berthold, and Tim Sievers to do the same. 

And just as the Isle of Wight was an island concert (duh), these three young men chose the Isle of Fehmarn, between West Germany and Denmark. The idea was a sensible one: book the artists appearing at the Isle of Wight after that event on August 28, 29, and 30.  Such Woodstock names as Melanie, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone, John Sebastian, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, and most importantly of all, Jimi Hendrix.

Interesting financing

Like any young men with an idea, they needed money to back it. Beate Uhse put up 200,000 German Marks in advance and offered the use of her 20 German sex shops as additional ticket sale offices. She was a stunt pilot and opened the first sex shop in the world. [Beate died in 2001. Her company,  Beate Uhse AG is listed on the Frankfort Stock Exchange.]

German Max Yasgur

Ferdinand, Berthold, and Sievers selected an area called Flueggerstrand and rented a field belonging to a farmed named Störtenbecker. They converted a nearby school into a temporary hospital.

With unpleasant echos of Woodstock in the air, they...

 

  • had to ask local breweries and dairies to provide beverages as the company they hoped to contract refused. 
  • asked the German Red Cross to provide a mobile kitchen for the warm meals.
  • built two fences around the festival area
  • installed a few telephone boxes.
  • rented a gigantic sound system from England
  • Joan Baez and John Mayall cancelled because they feared non-payment after learning of poor ticket sales.

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

Bad Weather Bonus

As if the pre-festival similarities to Woodstock weren't enough, the day the festival started, so did the rain.  Unlike Woodstock, a German biker group called the "Bloody Devils" arrived and supplanted the planned security. 

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hendrix, Billy Cox on bass, and Mitch Mitchell on drums) were on Saturday's schedule. Rain cancelled that appearance, but Hendrix, already paid, played the next day.  Bootleg copies of that performance existed for year, but on December 13, 2005 Dagger Records released the best-sounding recording.

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

It was his last concert. Hendrix died in London on September 18. The monument pictured below now commemorates that performance on the Isle of Fehmarn. 

Jimi Hendrix Swan Song

see Club 27 for more

It was a difficult month for rock fans, particularly those who had attended Woodstock. On September 3 Canned Heat's Alan Wilson died. Hendrix on the 18th. And Janis Joplin on October 4. 

All were 27 years old.
Classic rock story link

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Gerardo Jerry Velez

Gerardo Jerry Velez

born August 15, 1947

Gerardo Jerry Velez

Gerardo "Jerry" Velez was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in the Bronx, and played with Jimi Hendrix's Gypsy Sun and Rainbows at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair three days after he turned twenty-two.

Not bad.

Post Woodstock

From his site: "...Velez went on to perform with such luminaries as David Bowie, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Destiny’s Child, Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Marc Anthony and countless others. Then he was poised for greatness as an original member of the Best Selling Contemporary Jazz Groups of all time Spyro Gyra, garnering multiple Gold and Platinum recording awards, also best new group of 1978, several number one hit songs, Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Band of the 80’s….and 14 Grammy Nominations."

Outside playing

Also from his site: "...Velez’s event company Gerardo Velez Productions (GVP) has been producing hundreds of shows and events since 1981. Nationally and internationally creating events, gala’s, concerts, festivals for such clients as New York Stock Exchange, The Security Traders Association of New York, Bank of America, H.B.O., Comedy Central, and SAP Software. Time Warner, Donna Karan, Chopard Jewelry, Mirimax Films, and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino just to mention a few.

"His range in Music continues as a musical supervisor and director for Conde Nast Travelers Awards, United Way’s 25th. Anniversary , National Football League Properties working with Rap, Rand B, and country superstars…Buster Rhymes , Destiny’s Child, Terry Bradshaw, Tim McGraw , Jerry Rice, 98 Degrees, Isaac Hayes, each song coupled an athlete with a musician."

Many happy returns…

Gerardo Jerry Velez

Here's a great and thorough montage of Velez from YouTube...

Many happy returns, Jerry. Thanks you for all your music, especially that damp Bethel Monday morning a few days after that 22nd birthday.

Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez,