In 1969 Telegram, Jimi Hendrix Invites Paul McCartney to Join a Super Group with Miles Davis


Click above for a (slight­ly) larg­er image

trend­ing sto­ry this week­end brings to light what could have been a pret­ty super 1969 col­lab­o­ra­tion between Miles Davis, his phe­nom­e­nal long­time drum­mer Tony Williams, Jimi Hen­drix and Paul McCart­ney. Davis and Hen­drix had already been jam­ming togeth­er infor­mal­ly in New York, plan­ning to record an album. The pair­ing seems nat­ur­al con­sid­er­ing this was Davis’ Bitch­es Brew psy­che­del­ic fusion phase.

The inclu­sion of McCartney’s pop sen­si­bil­i­ties seems odd, though, and pos­si­bly inspired. It could have result­ed in some real­ly fas­ci­nat­ing music, or a mess of per­son­al­i­ties and ideas. But alas, it nev­er came to pass. Davis and Hen­drix sent McCart­ney an impromp­tu Octo­ber 21st, 1969 telegram request to record with them in New York: “We are record­ing an LP togeth­er this week­end. How about com­ing in to play bass stop call Alan Dou­glas 212–5812212. Peace Jimi Hen­drix Miles Davis Tony Williams.” [Alan Dou­glass was the osten­si­ble pro­duc­er.] But, as Rolling Stone explains:

It’s unclear if McCart­ney was aware of the request….  Bea­t­les aide Peter Brown respond­ed the next day, telling Hen­drix and Davis that McCart­ney was out on vaca­tion and was­n’t expect­ed back for two weeks.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the only repro­duc­tions of the cor­re­spon­dence avail­able online are the poor­ly vis­i­ble images at the top and below. Nonethe­less, you can make out Davis, Hen­drix, and Williams’ request on the right, and the response at the left (the order is reversed below). Both telegrams are locat­ed at the Hard Rock Café in Prague. For more on the sto­ry, read the Tele­graph’s sum­ma­tion. I’m sure it won’t be long before some enter­pris­ing music hack­er cre­ates the ulti­mate Davis/Hendrix/McCartney mashup and gives us a taste of what might have been.


Click to (slight­ly) enlarge

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Rare Miles Davis Live Record­ings Cap­ture the Jazz Musi­cian at the Height of His Pow­ers

Pre­vi­ous­ly Unre­leased Jimi Hen­drix Record­ing, “Some­where,” with Bud­dy Miles and Stephen Stills

Paul McCart­ney Shoots New Music Video with Natal­ie Port­man and John­ny Depp

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness

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Comments (13)
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  • Droy says:

    What a shame that Hendrix/Miles record nev­er came about, no mat­ter who would be on bass.

  • Steve Ardire says:

    wow nev­er know this and what a super group this would have been

  • Eddie Punch says:

    things that might have been are some­times bet­ter off being as might have been

  • Syndey Davis says:

    Look up Bet­ty Davis (and lis­ten to her music, for a rarely heard treat).

  • Brian says:

    The inclu­sion of Paul McCart­ney should not be con­sid­ered “odd” at all. McCart­ney was the last remain­ing bach­e­lor Bea­t­le, and after his band­mates moved to the sub­urbs, he was still liv­ing in Lon­don, hit­ting up night­clubs AND the music con­ser­va­to­ry, dig­ging all kinds of music and get­ting weird. He got into 20th cen­tu­ry com­po­si­tion, and brought what he heard back to The Bea­t­les. He learned how to make tape loops, then went back to the stu­dio and taught the oth­er Bea­t­les. He was one of Hen­drix’s ear­li­est music indus­try cham­pi­ons after Hen­drix came to Lon­don! He’d caught Hen­drix play­ing in a night club and showed up at the record­ing stu­dio rav­ing about him the next morn­ing. Oh, and not only was the “Sgt. Pep­per’s” LP his brain­child, but he played the gui­tar solo on “Tax­man,” too (report­ed­ly in one take). McCart­ney was, like, an ADVANCED dude. That said, he was, at the time of this telegram, incred­i­bly stub­born, a total taskmas­ter in the stu­dio, and, by many accounts, a very dif­fi­cult per­son to “col­lab­o­rate” with. Can you imag­ine the sparks fly­ing in the stu­dio between a guy like 1969 Paul McCart­ney and 1969 Miles Davis??

  • Matt says:

    Is there any record­ings of a Hendrix/davis album? I can’t stop think­ing about how good this group would’ve been.

  • johnny price says:

    good points bri­an, all the way around , and i large­ly agree…for me , though , this tells us how high­ly respect­ed mccart­ney is ( or , for hen­drix, was ) for his bass play­ing. We often think of him for his bea­t­le mag­ic, song­writ­ing , melody writ­ing , vocal range , but the fact remains is that his abil­i­ties on bass is not sur­passed by many, or any , in rock and pop .…the boy can play that four string .…lol

  • randy murphy says:

    yes, Miles would have prob­a­bly killed him and they would have to make a third (or forth) Faul. maybe in a par­al­lel uni­verse.

  • Edward says:

    Mac­ca and Jimi. Does­nt Work…

  • Tim Bucknall says:

    did Hen­drix or Williams or Miles end up using the stu­dio time for any­thing?
    I don’t know about Hen­drix ses­sions, but Miles is not known to have returned to the stu­dio in novem­ber for the Big Fun Ses­sions

    he was also shot by a Gang­ster in Octo­ber right?

  • Tim Bucknall says:

    there might be some rough home demo type record­ings record­ed at each oth­ers hous­es but they nev­er made it to the stu­dio unfor­tu­nate­ly as they could­n’t agree about mon­ey

    Jimi asked Miles for advice on Jazz guys to play with
    so Miles sug­gest­ed John Maclaugh­lin, Dave Hol­land, Lar­ry Young

    sad­ly the pick up on John Maclaugh­lins gui­tar was faulty and the record­ing was unre­leasable except for bootlegs

    the stuff with Lar­ry Young was released though

  • Tim Bucknall says:

    wooah check out the snot­ty response from Mac­ca’s spokesman at the bot­tom

    what a moron

  • Tim Bucknall says:

    *until in novem­ber typo

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