Jimi Hendrix: The Man In The Music (Part 6)
Jimi Hendrix Death
The film below is the ABC announcement on September 18, 1970 of the death of Jimi Hendrix.
Most of us esteem Jimi as one of the top guitar players in the world. Doing the research for this blog series has shown me that he was also a gifted and inspired song writer. He lived only 27 years and in six more days he would have celebrated the fourth anniversary of his first arrival in Britain that launched him into stardom’s stratosphere.
Why Were We Robbed of More Hendrix Music?
Why were we robbed of experiencing even heavier and freakier voices from his guitar and magical lyrics? What caused of Hendrix’s death? I guess we will never know for sure. Some say it was suicide others that he sufficated on his own vomit as a result of mixing barbiturates and alcohol.
What we do know is that Jimi had been at a party and Monika Danneman, his newest girlfriend, picked him up and drove to her place at the Samarkand Hotel in Notting Hill. Jimi had been staying with her for a few days. Danneman says that without her knowing it Jimi had taken nine of her prescribed Vesperax sleeping pills. The normal medical dose was half a tablet. The coroner said Jimi had washed the pills down with red wine, then vomited, some filling his lungs and asphyxiating him.
Danneman found him on the floor and called Eric Burdon who told her to call the police and he would be right there. Danneman had left by the time Burdon arrived, but returned a few minutes later with Alvinia Bridges. They all cleaned up the apartment and left.
Police and EMTs state that there was no one but Hendrix in the flat when they arrived at 11:27 a.m. They found him dead and fully clothed.
Burdon initially told reporters and onlookers that Hendrix had committed suicide because he saw a note which he mistook for a suicide note. Danneman said that the note was a five page poem Hendrix had written before falling asleep.
Sometime during the night Jimi had left a message on Chas Chandler’s answering machine that said, “I need help bad, man”.
Sharon Lawrence in her book: Jimi Hendrix: The Man, the Magic, the Truth (Harper Entertainment, 2005) wrote that there was was really little chance of Hendrix dying accidentally. She points to the final stanza of the poem Hendrix left: “The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye. The story of love is hello and goodbye . . . until we meet again.”
Many say that Jimi did not know that the pills were so strong, he had been used to taking weaker American brands. Police found a pack of 42 Vesperax in his pocket. If he wanted to kill himself, why not take more?
Jimi’s reckless mixing of drugs and alcohol had become so commonplace the previous year that his girlfriends regularly woke up hearing him gasping and had to clear his windpipe on several occasions.
A few believe it is possible that he was murdered. They site the excessive amounts of wine in his stomach as well as lungs are more consistent with being water boarded.
Jimi Hendrix and Guitar Buried in Seattle
Hendrix reportedly requested to be buried in England, but his body was returned to Seattle and interned at Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington, approximately 30 minutes south of Seattle. The memorial contains the bodies of Jimi Hendrix, his father Al Hendrix, and grandmother Nora Rose Moore Hendrix .
On Jimi’s headstone there is a depiction of his legendary Fender Stratocaster guitar. The artist must not have known Jimi, he made a major blunder that has never been corrected. He sculpted a right handed guitar. Hendrix was left handed.
Below is a video of the last time that Jimi Hendrix played in public…it was a jam session with Eric Burdon and War.
This article is an installment in the Jimi Hendrix Series on 60s Folks: