10 March 2011

...We'd Like to Stop Playing this Rubbish...

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Voodoo Child", "Hey Joe/Sunshine of Your Love" (live on A Happening for LuLu, 4 Jan 1969)

Imagine if The Beatles were on a TV show in 1967, in the middle of their psychedelic experimentation phase, and the hosts of the show asked them to play "She Loves You".  That's pretty much what happened here, in the Experience's last UK television appearance.

By early 1969, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was nearly through, with the members seeking to go their own ways.  Much as had happened (in a band life of almost exactly the same length) with Cream, which had announced to the world earlier that week that they were officially calling it quits.

Jimi and the band were invited onto A Happening for LuLu, which was a pretty mainstream British variety and music program of the time.  LuLu may have fancied herself hip and "with it", but she was pretty square for someone in the middle of the British psychedelic rock scene.  This is probably pretty obvious from the introduction she gives the band before each song in the video below.

For their first number, Jimi played "Voodoo Child", which was a powerhouse jam from their final album, Electric Ladyland.  Awesome, but uneventful.

For the second and final song, they were asked to play "Hey Joe", which was their first single from about two years earlier, and which was not even a Hendrix composition.  Jimi, ever accommodating on the outside (and mischievous on the inside), assented.

(you'll have to click through to youtube to watch, but it's worth it)

Apparently Jimi was told that he had 3:30 to work with until the end of the show, and you can see how that turned out.  I can just imagine the director and LuLu pulling their hair out at what Jimi was doing, but as you can see, Jimi was having a wonderful time.

In my opinion, this ranks right up there with the greatest televised musical performances of all time, for its musicianship, but more so for its historical value.

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