Curtis Knight Jimi Hendrix

Curtis Knight Jimi Hendrix

October 1965

Curtis Knight Jimi Hendrix

In October 1965 Curtis Knight recorded "How Would You Feel." Knight's guitarist was the young and still-living-in-the-USA guitarist Jimi Hendrix. As you listen to the guitar you can hear the foreshadowing of Hendrix's iconic cover of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

Before Knight

In 1962, Hendrix had left the Army after a brief unproductive stint.

In February 1964, Hendrix had won the amateur contest at the Apollo Theater in NYC.

In March 1964, Hendrix was part of the Isley Brothers band and recorded the two-part single "Testify" before beginning a tour with them.

Earlier in 1965, Hendrix had played a session for Rosa Lee Brooks on her single "My Diary"  Around the same time he also backed Little Richard on  "I Don't Know What You've Got, But It's Got Me."

After Knight

September 22, 1966 was Jimi Hendrix's first day in England after the Animals' ex-bassist turned producer Chas Chandler "discovered" him in New York City fronting  Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in the various Greenwich Village clubs.

We know the rest of the story. How Paul McCartney's recommendation let to Hendrix Sets Monterey Afire. How Reprise Records Signs Jimi HendrixWoodstock. The Jimi Hendrix Swan Song


Though Hendrix only recorded three studio albums, anyone with any of his recordings of any kind tried to jump on the Hendrix goose that seemingly laid only golden eggs. 

In 1965, he had signed a contract with PPX records to play with Curtis Knight. After Hendrix and his Experience struck it big with Are You Experienced?, PPX packaged Hendrix's Knight tracks as its own album while playing up Hendrix's role in the Squires. 

A similar PPX album called Got That Feeling was also planned for the U.K. in 1968 before the courts stepped in and barred the release, with Hendrix himself calling it "musically worthless."

March 2015

Curtis Knight Jimi Hendrix
47 years later, Hendrix's estate, Eperience Hendrix LLC, released You Can’t Use My Name: Curtis Knight & The Squires (featuring Jimi Hendrix) The RSVP/PPX Sessions.  The name is an obvious reference to previous legal issues. Experience Hendrix selected 14 of the 88 studio recordings Hendrix had made with Curtis Knight.

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Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe

Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe

October 23, 1966
Happy anniversary
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Hey Joe” 1986 on the Nightmusic Show
Sometimes the power of a musicians's instrument hides the horror of the song's lyrics. So it was for me with "Hey Joe." By the time I got to the third track of the Experience's debut album, I thought I was experienced. Of course I wasn't, but I'd fully imbibed the music's Kool-Aid. What would the next track do to me. And side 2 awaited!

It was on October 23, 1966 that the Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded 'Hey Joe' at De Lane Lea studios in London. It becames their first single. 

It wasn't the first time someone recorded the song and who wrote it remains a bit of a controversy.

Niela Miller

Niela Miller was one of the many young folksingers drawn to Greenwich Village. According to a piece in the Fret Board Journal, Sometime around 1955 she wrote “Baby, Please Don’t Go To Town,” a mournful song about the joys and perils a young woman faced in the city. She recorded the song in 1962.


Billy Roberts

Billy Roberts was Niela's boyfriend and liked the song. He wrote new words and changed the story to a guy Joe who'd murdered his lover. He copyrighted "his" song in 1962. He played his "Hey Joe" and many of Greenwich Villages artists heard it and covered it.

 Later Roberts moved to San Francisco. 

Chet Powers > Dino Valenti

Another Greenwich Village expatriate, Chet Powers also started playing the song in LA, hoping a band would pick up "his" song.  Powers' name by then was Dino Valenti, a name we don't associate with "Hey Joe" but should associate with a song we are certain he wrote: Let's Get Together

Tim Rose

And yet another Greenwich expat, Tim Rose, performed “Hey Joe.” Rose claimed that it was a standard he’d learned as a boy. Here's Tim doing the song in 1967:

Despite much searching, no one has found a traditional song that predates Naomi Miller's song or Robert's re-interpretation.

Los Angeles

Be that as it may, the Byrds and Love group also began to include it in their sets. It was The Leaves, another Los Angeles band, that recorded the song as a single in 1965. Here is a video of their version. Jim Pons, the bass player, later joined The Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and the Mothers of Invention (who had their own Mothers-version of the tune--"Hey Pop, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?") 

Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe

Jimi Hendrix Hey Joe

And of course, THE version for most is Jimi's. As you can see above on the album label Billy Roberts gets credit. Here's a great live Hendrix version.


Hey Joes

Others who have covered the song including Wilson Pickett, Patti Smith, and Eddie Murphy. In fact, a site called "Hey Joe Versions" shows a list of over 1800 artists who have covered it. 

For me the one that gets to the song's horror is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' version that you heard above. Here's the video to watch and enjoy.

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October 23 Peace Love Activism

October 23 Peace Love Activism


Deborah Sampson
October 23, 1783: Deborah Sampson honorably discharged from the Army after a year and a half of service. (see Deborah Sampson)
Voting Rights

October 23

October 23, 1915:  twenty-five thousand women marched in Manhattan, demanding the right to vote in all 48 states. (see  Dec 4) (NYT article)
Clarence Thomas
October 23, 1991: despite the sexual misconduct allegations of Anita Hill on October 11, Clarence Thomas sworn in as the 106th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. (see January 28, 1992)

Cold War

Ronald Reagan
October 23, 1947:  Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild, appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) as a “friendly” witness on this day. He testified to his opposition to Communism, and his testimony on this occasion was fairly mild anti-Communist rhetoric. (see Oct 27)


October 23, 1947: the NAACP filed formal charges with the United Nations, accusing the U.S. of racial discrimination. "An Appeal to the World," edited by W.E.B. DuBois, was a study of the denial of the right to vote that included details of other discrimination. (see Oct 29) (NYT article)

Vietnam & South Vietnam Leadership

October 23, 1955: Ngo Dinh Diem held an election. He reportedly received 98.2% of the votes, a difficult winning percentage to believe which was further supported by the fact that the total number of votes for exceeded the number of registered voters by over 380,000. (see Oct 26)

Nuclear/Chemical News

Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency
October 23, 1956: The Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency was approved by the Conference on the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was held at the Headquarters of the United Nations. (see In April 1957)
12.5 megaton
October 23, 1961: Soviet Union above-ground nuclear test. 12.5 megaton. (see Oct 30) (NYT article)
Kenneth Gelpey

October 23

October 23, 1961: Kenneth Gelpey wearing protective clothing as he emerged from a fallout shelter in Medford, Massachusetts with a Geiger counter in hand to "test for radiation". Gelpey and his family spent the weekend in the shelter to test their equipment. (see Oct 30)
October 23 Peace Love Activism
Cuban Missile Crisis
October 23, 1962: evidence presented by the U.S. Department of Defense, of Soviet missiles in Cuba. This low level photo of the medium range ballistic missile site under construction at Cuba's San Cristobal area. A line of oxidizer trailers is at center. Added since October 14, the site was earlier photographed, were fuel trailers, a missile shelter tent, and equipment. The missile erector now lies under canvas cover. Evident also is extensive vehicle trackage and the construction of cable lines to control areas. (see Cuban Missile Crisis for full story)
October 23 Music et al

October 23

October 23 – November 5, 1961: “Runaround Sue” by Dion & the Belmonts #1 Billboard Hot 100. 

Cool video:

Bob Dylan
October 23, 1963: Dylan recorded 'The Times They Are A-Changin' at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. Dylan wrote the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the time, influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads. (see Nov 2 – Dec 6)
see Jimi Hendrix Experience for full story
October 23, 1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded their first single 'Hey Joe', at De Lane Lea studios in London. The earliest known commercial recording of the song is the late-1965 single by the Los Angeles garage band the The Leaves; the band then re-recorded the track and released it in 1966 as a follow-up single which became a hit. (see Dec 26)

Watergate Scandal

October 23, 1973: Nixon agreed to turn White House tape recordings requested by the Watergate special prosecutor over to Judge John J. Sirica (see Nov 17) (NYT article)
October 23 Peace Love Activism


October 23 Peace Love Activism

October 23, 1983: Shiite suicide bombers explode truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 marines. Minutes later a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut. (see Dec 12) (NYT article)

BBC report on Ethiopia

October 23, 1984, BBC News TV reported that a famine was plaguing Ethiopia and thousands of people had already died of starvation and as many as 10,000,000 more lives are at risk. (see Nov 25)

Jack Kevorkian

October 23, 1991: Kevokian attended the deaths of Marjorie Wantz, a 58-year-old Sodus, Michigan, woman with pelvic pain, and Sherry Miller, a 43-year-old Roseville, Michigan, woman with multiple sclerosis. The deaths occur at a rented state park cabin near Lake Orion, Michigan. Wantz dies from the suicide machine's lethal drugs, Miller from carbon monoxide poisoning inhaled through a face mask. (see Nov 20)

Women’s Health

Dr. Barnett Slepian assassinated
October 23 Peace Love Activism
October 23, 1998, Women’s Health: James Charles Kopp leaned against a tree behind the suburban home of Dr. Barnett Slepian, who performed abortions as part of his practice, and followed Slepian through the scope of a high-powered rifle.

Slepian, the married father of four young sons, entered the kitchen after returning home from a memorial service for his father, put a bowl of soup in a microwave oven and walked to a desk in the corner of the kitchen where he routinely put his keys, wallet and pager.

  With that, Mr. Kopp, a longtime opponent of abortion whose beliefs earned him the nickname Atomic Dog among like-minded people, squeezed the trigger and fired.

The single shot broke the kitchen window and struck Dr. Slepian under his left shoulder blade, tore through his chest and exited from his right shoulder, then ricocheted past his wife and two of their sons, finally lodging in the fireplace of the living room, where a third son was watching television.

About an hour later, the 52-year-old doctor was declared dead. (see March 29, 2001) (NYT article) 
Indiana/Medicaid funds
October 23, 2012: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld the core portion of a lower court order that said Indiana cannot enforce a state law barring abortion providers from collecting Medicaid funds for any medical services, i.e., Indiana can't cut off funding for Planned Parenthood just because the organization provides abortions, a federal appeals. (NYT article) (see October 23)
Rape defended
October 23, 2012: the issue of pregnancies resulting from rape rattled another campaign for the Senate when Indiana’s Republican Senate nominee, Richard Mourdock, said a life conceived by rape “is something that God intended to happen” and must be protected. (NYT article) (see December 4)

Technological Milestone

October 23 Peace Love ActivismOctober 23, 2001:  Apple Computer Inc. introduced the iPod portable digital music player. (see April 25, 2003).


October 23, 2012: New York’s highest court declined to hear a challenge to the state’s gay-marriage law, ending the only significant legal threat to same-sex weddings in the state. The Court of Appeals rejected a motion by a conservative group, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which had accused the State Senate of violating the state’s Open Meetings Law in its deliberations before it voted last year to allow gay men and lesbians to marry. The court did not provide an explanation of its decision.(see November 28) (NYT article)

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