More than 40 years since his death, the appeal of Jimi Hendrix remains undimmed, as shown by this new attraction in London. We were among the first visitors, and report back to you.
A new, permanent Jimi Hendrix exhibition opened to the public last Wednesday, 10th February, and we were thrilled to be among the visitors in its first week. With sold out tickets, it has instantly become one of the hottest attractions in London for music fans in general, and Hendrix aficionados in particular.
Jimi Hendrix in London
The Mayfair flat has historical importance because, when Jimi Hendrix first moved to London on 24th September 1966, he was on course to help changing music forever. His mix of blues, rock and psychedelia was not only hugely influential, but also showed new and creative ways the guitar could be used. His music still sounds fresh, 50 years on.
As all the Jimi Hendrix signature gear is proof, he continues to inspire guitarists worldwide, more than 45 years since his death, and the public continues to be fascinated by the World's Greatest Guitarist Ever. Now that the Jimi Hendrix flat has opened to the public, it provides a great insight into Hendrix the man - and is a must for the guitarist's fans who visit London!
It's part of the Handel & Hendrix In London museum, which comprises Handel House on 25 Brook St and Hendrix Flat on 23 Brook St, in Mayfair, London. Hendrix was fascinated by the fact he lived next door to where the famous composer had lived, and besides owning some Handel records, he is said to have seen his ghost on a number of occasions, too!
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the original Epiphone FT79 sunburst acoustic guitar that Hendrix brought along with him when he moved to London, and which he used to play all the time at home - using it to work out riffs, write songs and entertain friends at rowdy parties!
Hendrix gave this guitar to a session musician friend, Alan Parker, who used it in recordings by Dusty Springfield, Walker Brothers, Paul McCartney and on David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs'.
He's seen playing the guitar in this rare video:
The exhibition gives a good feel for what Hendrix's life was like in Mayfair, which also included long sessions tweaking gear at his home, with engineer Roger Mayer, who developed his iconic Octavia fuzz pedal for Jimi.
There's also a room showcasing all the records in Jimi Hendrix's collection at the time - a great insight into what he listened to, and what inspired him! You can imagine how traditional blues, mixed with its modern version developed by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Bob Dylan and experimental stuff such as Pierre Henry may have shaped his visionary sound. To look at Jimi's record collection is almost like having a little insight into his mind.
Visitors can also see the newly released Fender Jimi Hendrix Signature Stratocaster on display there:
But the most interesting thing at the exhibition is, without a doubt, the accurate reproduction of Jimi Hendrix's bedroom, based on photographs and footage. It's an exact replica of how Jimi's room looked like when he lived there - with Bob Dylan record on turntable, and even a fruit bowl as the one shown on famous promo photos!
With an Epiphone acoustic left on the bed, cigarette butts on the window and other details like that, it feels like you've traveled back in time and Jimi's just gone out for a second. This little glimpse of how Jimi Hendrix lived is a fantastic gift for his fans. If you love Jimi, you simply can't miss this exhibition if you're visiting London.
The Hendrix exhibition is open 7 days a week, but booking is recommended as tickets for most days are selling out, fast.