Thursday, August 23, 2007

Forty Years AgoToday: The Most Significant Music Album Ever

August, 1967 was the height of the summer of love. It was, too, the crowning month of an amazing year of music. In sixty-seven Pink Floyd released their first album. The Stones would release their 7th, 8th and 9th albums. The Monterey Pop Festival redefined live concerts. Plus there was a little album from the Beatles that was dropped to, oh, a bit of notice.
Also, the most significant music album ever was released in the US.
On August 23rd of that year America was introduced to the absolutely astounding debut record from 24-year-old Johnny Allen Hendrix. Jimi, to the world. At a time when both musicians as artist, as well as studio recording techniques were evolving at an accelerated pace, Hendrix possessed a singularity. As a self-taught guitarist -- left-handed, no less, on a flipped Fender Stratocaster as opposed to a true left-handed guitar -- he was an unparalleled virtuoso. Beyond his sheer ability, what made Hendrix Hendrix was the absolute fearlessness of a nuke scientist he owned when it came to mixing and blending styles. Rhythm and Blues, free Jazz, Soul, Rock... A cocktail he called the melding of Earth and Space -- Earth being the music itself, Space being a psychedelic approach to phrasing, playing and recording. Added to all that was Hendrix himself -- the hair, the clothes, the casual attitude toward life and the obsession for creating perfect music. (More from John Ridley)


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