Monday, June 18, 2007

Today in Rock Music History

On this day in 1967, Jimi Hendrix burst upon the consciousness of American rock audiences with a blistering set of psychedelic blues rock at the Monterey Pop festival, at the climax of which he threw his guitar to the stage, squirted it with lighter fluid, and set it ablaze. That image of Hendrix - who would tragically be labeled “a sex machine/witch doctor” because of his action (a stage stunt meant to rival the hyper-destructive Who’s earlier instrument bashing at the end of their set) - burning his instrument would become the definitive moment of the first great rock festival - and an iconic moment in a decade full of iconic moments. Thankfully, it was captured for posterity.

None of us knew then that this “trans-cendiary” act would be the apex of Jimi’s career - and that from that magic moment he would enter the slow downward spiral that - despite the brilliant music he created while falling from the sky he’d kissed so passionately - would end in a London flat just over three years later - deeply in debt, lonely, confused, feeling abandoned by friends and business associates - dead by choking on his own vomit, his drug addled girlfriend too confused or scared to save him….He was 27…. (More)

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