The fantasy four-piece of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

For years, music nerd bar chats have revolved around the ‘dream band line-up‘. As one of the best guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix is likely to appear in such lineups more than most, but who would have cut Jimi?

Icon” is an overused adjective, but there appears to be little else to define Jimi Hendrix. The pioneer of psychedelic guitar music swiftly established himself as one of the 1960s’ most defining performers. He embodied the younger generation’s increasing counter-cultural movement and rebellious spirit.

Hendrix has always been candid about his influences, claiming everyone from Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton as his sources of inspiration. A few groups gained the highest accolade of being Hendrix’s favorites, one of which being King Crimson. A group is nothing without a beat, so let’s begin Hendrix’s ideal quartet with Michael Giles, the band’s original drummer. Hendrix was a big fan of Crimson and Giles, although they were still in their early stages at the time. The guitarist first met Robert Fripp’s band in 1969, and as Giles’ sister-in-law once claimed, “He was jumping up and down,” she told Fripp, shouting: “This is the best group in the world!”

Sticking with the rhythm section, we’ll now move on to the bass position in this fantasy ensemble. Noel Redding, Hendrix’s bassist, is undoubtedly one of the most gifted musicians of that era. However, if we’re discussing lineups, there doesn’t appear to be a reasonable choice other than Paul McCartney. Unsurprisingly, Jimi was a fan of The Beatles, especially as they entered their psychedelic era. Only days after releasing their groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Hendrix opened a London show. He opened it with a version of the title track. In the words of McCartney, “Jimi opened, the curtains flew back, and he came walking forward, playing ‘Sgt. Pepper’.” It had only been released on Thursday, so that was like the ultimate compliment.

As the guitarist in the majority of fantasy band lineups, you could be forgiven for thinking Jimi Hendrix was his fantasy guitarist. However, the ever-humble Hendrix makes an unusual pick in the form of Chicago’s Terry Kath. Although rock’ is not a description you’d expect to hear when discussing Hendrix, the guitarist was a huge fan of Chicago. Indeed, Kath’s great guitar playing with the band may have eclipsed the rest of the group. This is evidenced by the drop in Chicago’s music quality following the guitarist’s terrible death. Hendrix was once quoted as remarking that Kath was not only a better player than him, but “the best guitarist in the universe“.

Bob Dylan is the only viable candidate to lead Hendrix’s fantasy band. The Seattle-born guitarist was a Dylan disciple, frequently discussing how touching the folk singer’s lyrics were, saying, “All those people who don’t like Bob Dylan’s songs should read his lyrics.” “They are full of the joys and sorrows of life,” he told Steve Barker in 1967. While the two had little in common musically, Dylan’s songwriting skills were an obvious source of inspiration for Hendrix. This is likely best exemplified by his cover of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” which has outperformed the original in many respects.

Hendrix’s ideal lineup is eclectic, trippy, and full of musical skill, and it shares many similarities with the man himself. It would be hard to bring together all of the guitarist’s luminaries in a single four-piece. However, the lineup above appears to cover all of the key routes that contributed to his renowned sound.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like