19 June 2014


Shirley watching Hendrix on screen in the EMP Center, Seattle
Arguably, Seattle's most famous son is not Bill Gates but guitar legend James Marshall Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix, as he is better known, died in the prime of his life and at the height of is fame when he was just twenty seven years old. Three weeks before his own vomit suffocated him in a London hotel room, I saw him in concert at the Isle of Wight Rock Festival (1970). He owned that stage and lit up the dark summer night with his audacious electric wizardry. It was a special moment in my teenage journey.

Born in the Seattle suburb of Renton in 1942, Jimi is well-represented in Seattle Center's  EMP showcase building which opens your eyes to the power and the history of guitar music and media. Sadly, back in 2009 the city authorities destroyed Jimi's childhood home in Renton - driven by legalistic nonsense rather than imagination and full realisation of what Hendrix meant to the modern world and to Seattle itself. 

His body is interred not too far from the place where his old house once stood in spacious Greenwood Cemetery. Shirley accompanied me there this morning and we paid our respects as an old age Canadian rocker from Toronto strolled across the grass to pay similar homage. We chatted for a while and I thought to myself - is it really forty four years since Hendrix died when I was just short of my seventeenth birthday with most of my life ahead...

Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
Jimi Hendrix's memorial grave in Renton


  1. It doesn't seem that long.
    Twenty seven is a dodgy age for musicians.

    1. Yes Adrian we are both damned lucky to be slightly older than twenty seven.


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