Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

July 17, 1967

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Everyone Loves Hendrix?

Young visitors to the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (where Woodstock was, not where Woodstock is), often bemoan the fact that they weren’t born for that famous festival. That they would have done anything to attend.

I don’t disagree with their wish, but I will point out that despite his fame today, Jimi Hendrix was not beloved by every young person when he initially appeared on the American scene.

Hendrix first became famous, at least in a small corner of America, at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967 when the next day’s headlines read: Hendrix Sets Monterey Afire.

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Of course the Monkees

To say that the Monkees were very popular in 1967 is an understatement. The Colgems label had released their debut album, The Monkees, on October 10, 1966. It became Billboard’s #1 album on November 12. It remained there  until February 10, 1967! 124 days. What replaced it? Their second album, More of the Monkees, which remained the number one album until June 16…126 more days! Those numbers exceed the Beatles’ opening days in 1964.

Mike Jeffery was Hendrix’s manager and wanted to capitalize on that popularity with his emerging star. How better to do that than hitch Hendrix onto Comet Monkees?

While the Monkees may have been an assembled act whose members were actors more than musicians, that didn’t mean those members didn’t like music. Micky Dolenz, the Monkees’ drummer, had first heard about Jimi Hendrix and seen him in the Village before Hendrix even went to the UK under the aegis of Animal bassist Chas Chandler.

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

The idea is hatched

Dolenz and fellow Monkee Peter Tork saw Hendrix at Monterey. Tork wasn’t impressed…

…but Dolenz was and he recommended the two groups get together on the Monkees upcoming  28-city tour.

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour

Quit

It didn’t go well because, as I’ve said, not every young person in 1967 was ready for or wanted to experience Jimi Hendrix. Had the Jefferson Airplane, the Who, or Joan Baez opened for the Monkees, the results would have been the same: kids repeatedly yelling “We want the Monkees!”

Hendrix’s presence thrilled the Monkees, but eight shows into the tour, Hendrix left.

Obviously the Experience didn’t make the date announced in the above radio spot.

Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour
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One thought on “Jimi Hendrix Quits Monkee Tour”

  1. From Larry Nuesch: I was there at the concert in Forest Hills as a bribed chaperone. When WNEW-FM hit the airwaves, I was among the first listeners. Except for when I was in the car, AM Radio was dead to me. So when my parents bought tickets for my 14 year old sister and one of her friends to see the Monkees for Saturday July 15, 1967 and asked me to go with them, they had to sweeten the deal by getting me tickets for another show that escapes me now (probably Jefferson Airplane at the Asbury Park Convention Center). As we lived over in New Jersey our parents dropped us off and then went to on to visit relatives in Queens, returning later to pick us up. As I had no other interest in the event, I never did any homework to see who else was playing. We were seated near the top of the stands at stage right and had a side view of the stage. Imagine my surprise when the opening act (Jimi) came out and started to play. I was amazed. Although I did not know what the Experience looked like, I immediately recognized what they were playing as something I had just heard on WNEW-FM several days earlier. Although there was a lot of boo-ing from the mostly tween audience (including my sister) there were several others there my age who were into it. After Jimi was finished, the Sundowners came out and played a set then remained on stage to back-up the Monkees, who sang but did not play until later. When our parents picked us up and asked how the concert was, my sister and her friend replied “tThe Monkees were great but the first band was YUK.” Naturally, my response was 180 degrees in opposition. As soon as “Are You Experienced?” hit the record store a month later, I was there and got the album. Still have it.

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