The “greatest instrumentalist in the history of Rock-N-Roll” died today.
Jimi Hendrix was found in a London flat on this day (September 18, 1970), covered in and choking on his throw up, after ingesting a lethal mixture of sleeping pills and wine.
However, you know it is not that simple.
Jimi formed his breakthrough group The Jimi Hendrix Experience after the Seattle-born guitarist went to London with his future manager, Chas Chandler. While there, he found band mates Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell and formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The trio made their debut at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967. The Jimi Hendrix Experience produced hits like “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Purple Haze,” “All Along The Watchtower.” They dropped three classic albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland before the group began to experience internal problems around April of 1969.
By this point in his career, Jimi Hendrix was doing heroin and acid and experimenting with depressants, which caused him to have mood swings. He also wanted to move beyond the trio format and experiment musically. Tensions between him and Noel Redding finally came to ahead and on June 29, 1969.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their last gig at the Denver Pop Festival. On that date, Noel Redding proclaimed “this is the last gig we will be playing together.”
Over 40,000 people were packed into Denver’s Mile High Stadium, amidst a tense situation between fans and police.
According to the 1978 book “‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” by Hendrix friend David Henderson, things soon broke into chaos thanks to the anti-Vietnam war sentiment many concertgoers felt.
“As Jimi rode towards the end of the song, the crowd started rushing the stage. The police hastily assembled on the turf,” Henderson wrote. “They began firing tear gas bombs into the boisterous, onrushing crowd. The wind shifted, and the tear gas began blowing on stage.”
Jimi eventually replaced both of his band members with two new musicians: bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. They toured as Band of Gypsys, but that tour went sour when Cox suffered a meltdown. Sometimes, Billy Cox would refuse to eat, due to his paranoia that his food could have been poisoned.
Around a year after The Experience’s breakup, Jimi was in London, where he was recovering from the disastrous European tour.
Jimi was hanging out with a German fan/girlfriend named Monika Danneman, who either provided Jimi with or helped him score a bunch of Vesparax sleeping pills. Jimi, ate, and ingested the pills along with a bottle of wine and went nodded off.
The best guitar player in the history of the music industry was found dead in the early morning hours of September 18, in a huge pool of his own vomit.
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|Jimi makes a political statement with his lyrics and his guitar with this classic song “Machine Gun”
1. On September 17, Monika Danneman drove Jimi to some unknown friends house near Marble Square. She did not enter, because Jimi told her he did not like, nor trust “these people.”
2. The next morning (September 18), Danneman found Jimi in his vomit, in the basement of a flat at the Samarkand Hotel. They found the equivalent of nine doses in his system, an amount his friends said the singer would never taken.
3. Jimi was allegedly alive when paramedics found him and rushed him to the hospital. He allegedly lived another 40 minutes after arriving at St Mary Abbot’s Hospital. Official medics disputed this and claimed Jimi was dead for a while when they arrived. Danneman said she found Jimi at 8 am but didn’t call for medics until 11 am.
4. Another female friend of Jimi’s named “Devon” could have been the one that gave Jimi the drugs. She later died under mysterious circumstances when she fell out of a window in New York City.
5. Paramedics strapped Jimi in a sitting position when he should have been laid on his side.
6. Jimi was supposed to have a legal meeting with record company PPX on the day he died over a contractual dispute. The battle was so serious and lucrative, that it was not resolved until this year (2015).
7. In his book “Are You Experienced?: The Inside Story of The Jimi Hendrix Experience” Noel Redding wrote that Jimi may have been under surveillance. “Were the ambulance men really ambulance men? Redding said that when he was in Italy working, he was told that “a French hitman had definitely been hired to kill Jimi.”
8. In 1993, an inquiry into Jimi’s death was reopened by Scotland Yard at the request of another one of Hendrix’s girlfriends, Kathy Etchingham.
9. Monika Danneman wrote a book about her time with Jimi in a 1996 illustrated book titled “The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix.” Tragically, Danneman committed suicide the same year, shortly after being charged with contempt of court in regards to making disparaging comments about Etchingham in the media.
10. Jimi had been jamming with the group War while he was in the UK. It was the group’s lead singer Eric Burdon who began calling Jimi’s last poem a “suicide” note even though Jimi was talking about new beginnings, studying jazz and expanding into film (see: “Rainbow Bridge”).
This was Jimi’s final poem:
“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again…”