Jimi Hendrix at 23 Brook Street, London

Jimi Hendrix and his London are now at the edge of living
memory. Those who knew him as peers in the swinging
city are in their sixties or early seventies, or passed
away, or talked out. And despite the best intentions of books
like the recent compiled ‘autobiography’ and the ongoing
excavation of his unreleased music, Hendrix can no longer
speak for himself.
From now on, he must rely on successive generations of
fans, musicians, historians, curators, and musicologists to
make his meanings. What is today close to a half-century of
documentaries, fanzines, websites, museum exhibitions, and
biographies, has settled into a detailed, but incomplete and
inevitably repetitive account of a very short life. Paradoxically,
this sedimentation of secondary material takes us both closer
to and further away from the man and his music. For all its
insights, such commentary shapes understanding in ways
that are frequently foreign to the period in question, an era
which is easy to misunderstand precisely because it is poised
between ‘memory’ and ‘history’. The everyday 1960s tend to
be ignored in favour of a concentration on large, emblematic
events, which, important as they are, remain atypical. This
book balances Hendrix’s private life with his professional life
to develop a fuller and often surprising new sense of the man
and his circle.