Handel House Museum Marks the 40th Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix Death

‘This is my first real home of my own’¹ – Jimi Hendrix, 1968

A new exhibition exploring the London life, music, performances and enduring legacy of Jimi Hendrix opens on 25 August 2010 at Handel House Museum. Hendrix in Britain commemorates the 40th anniversary of Hendrix’s death on 18 September 1970 and runs from 25 August to 7 November 2010.

The exhibition takes place at Handel House Museum at 25 Brook Street, the Mayfair townhouse in which composer George Frideric Handel lived and worked for 36 years. He wrote his most popular and enduring music, including Messiah, in the house and died there in 1759.

In 1968, Jimi Hendrix moved into the top floor flat of 23 Brook Street, with his English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, and it became his home during long periods of playing in many venues across town.

The 23 Brook Street flat is now used as the administrative offices of Handel House Museum. But, to mark the anniversary, it will be opened to the public for a 12-day stretch during the run of the exhibition, including the 18 September anniversary date. Previously, the flat has only been open for guided tours on specific one-off dates. To accommodate the special opening, Museum staff will move out temporarily, taking their office furniture and equipment with them, to allow visitors to tour the rooms in which Hendrix lived, wrote, played and entertained many of his contemporaries during an important and prolific period in his life.

Tickets for visits to Hendrix’s flat (including admission to the exhibition) can be booked from Tuesday 1 June 2010 at 9.00am at www.seetickets.com/events

Hendrix in Britain will explore several aspects of Jimi Hendrix’s life and career. Featuring exhibits rarely seen or never previously displayed in the UK, as well as a host of images, film clips and music, the exhibition will trace his rise to fame, his songwriting craft, his extraordinary guitar playing and his lasting impact on music and popular culture.

Among the items on display will be handwritten lyrics; a distinctive orange velvet jacket and Westerner hat worn by Hendrix in performance, on film and in album photography; Hendrix’s scrawled travel directions to the Isle of Wight Festival, scene of his final significant performance in August 1970; and UK concert memorabilia. Full details of exhibits will be confirmed as the opening date approaches.

Sarah Bardwell, Director of Handel House Museum, said ‘We are excited to be celebrating the life of Jimi Hendrix. After moving to Brook Street in 1968, Hendrix learned of the Handel connection with the building and headed to One Stop Records in South Molton Street and HMV in Oxford Street to pick up whichever records of Handel music he could find. Clearly he was intrigued by the connection and we’re pleased to be celebrating his own legacy today. We are delighted to be opening up the flat which was a true home base to Hendrix during his seemingly endless schedule of touring in the UK and elsewhere.’

Brought to London by manager Chas Chandler in September 1966, Jimi Hendrix quickly established a reputation as a spectacular live performer, based on an intensive period of playing such London clubs as the Speakeasy, Bag o’ Nails and Marquee, as well as venues across the UK, often delivering more than one set per night. The success of his first two single releases, Hey Joe (December 1966) and Purple Haze (March 1967), and his first album with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (May 1967), coupled with the reputation established by his UK shows, led to fame; ensuring that when he returned to play shows in the USA, only nine months after he had arrived in London, he was already a European star.

23 Brook Street, which carries an English Heritage Blue Plaque in memory of Hendrix (alongside the Blue Plaque for Handel), is the only Hendrix site anywhere in the world to be officially recognised. When he moved in with Kathy Etchingham in 1968, the rent charge was £30 per week; when Handel lived in the building next door he paid rent of £60 per year. Hendrix and Etchingham entertained many friends, musicians and contemporaries in the flat.

Hendrix in Britain will explore the particular contribution Hendrix made to the sound of the electric guitar, examining his personal style and use of technology on stage and in the studio. It will also feature a contemporary map of London showing significant Hendrix-related sites, including the venues he played. And Hendrix’s legacy will be discussed in interviews and personal reminiscences by some of the guitarists and songwriters he inspired, from his contemporaries to performers from successive generations.

The Museum will also host a series of special events to accompany the exhibition. These will include guitar workshops exploring Hendrix guitar effects, his particular use of amps and tips for playing guitar like Hendrix.

The Handel House Museum
25 Brook Street
Mayfair
London W1K 4HB

Telephone +44 (0)20 7495 1685
Fax +44 (0)20 7495 1759
Email [email protected]

www.handelhouse.org

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