Watch the Earliest Known Footage of the Jimi Hendrix Experience (February, 1967)

Note: If the video plays and you don’t hear sound, look for the vol­ume con­trol in the low­er right hand cor­ner of the video.

With­in months of mov­ing to Lon­don in autumn of 1966, Jimi Hen­drix found him­self a band, record­ed a sin­gle, got him­self a longterm girl­friend, and pro­ceed­ed to take the UK by storm. His gigs were essen­tial view­ing by rock’s then-royalty–the Who, the Bea­t­les, the Rolling Stones, Cream, all made sure they caught the Amer­i­can won­der. By the end of the year his first sin­gle “Hey Joe” land­ed him on British tele­vi­sion and in the Top 10.

The above video is the first known footage of a live Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence, though the band had been gig­ging for months. It takes place at the Chelms­ford Corn Exchange, in the City of Chelms­ford, about 50 miles north-east of Lon­don. The date is Feb­ru­ary 25, 1967, and the gig had only been adver­tised in the paper two days before (where he was list­ed as “Jimi Hen­dric”). As you can see, that’s all it took to fill this old traders build­ing-turned-rock venue to the rafters.

The footage was shot for “Telix­er: A Thing of Beat Is a Joy For­ev­er,” a doc­u­men­tary on the cur­rent British music scene made for KRO, The Nether­lands.

Hen­drix and the band launch into Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” with a few ordi­nary open­ing bars set­ting up the gui­tar mag­ic to fol­low. He then plays “Stone Free,” the b‑side of “Hey Joe.” You can see Pete Town­shend and John Entwistle to the side of the stage, very briefly. The footage is inter­cut with shots of Swing­ing Lon­don and fash­ion hub Por­to­bel­lo Road, where it is said Hen­drix bought his Hus­sars mil­i­tary jack­et.

The web­site Chelms­ford Rocks fea­tures a remem­brance of that night from Shaun Everett, who was a Mod at the time and knew he had to make his way up on the train after work to catch Hen­drix at the “Corn’ole,” as the youth called it.

Everett fills in the rest of the evening:

Hen­drix gave two sets. That was the nor­mal arrange­ment for the Corn’ole. Both sets usu­al­ly 45 min­utes to one hour each and there was absolute­ly no music to be had after 11.30pm…I have spent a long time look­ing for myself on that film clip but to no avail. I was prob­a­bly still at the rear of the venue or even more like­ly in the local pub for the break!…Hendrix, at the end of the per­for­mance, walked straight up to a few of us stand­ing just there and one of my mates lit his joint for him. They were so knocked out by that I recall. My rec­ol­lec­tion was more nasal. Rock musi­cians have this uncan­ny abil­i­ty to har­bour their own post-set aro­mas about them­selves: in this case that unmis­take­able aro­ma of cannabis…I will always remem­ber that part even if my music rec­ol­lec­tions are a bit sparse. I have also ‘dined out’ on that anec­dote for many years since. I had passed close by the ‘God’.

The Corn Exchange host­ed many acts over its time as a music venue, includ­ing David Bowie and Pink Floyd. But in 1969, the city tore down the 19th cen­tu­ry build­ing, assum­ing some­thing more accom­mo­dat­ing for live music would be built in its place. That didn’t hap­pen. On this page you can see the after­math of the bull­doz­ers, and a mod­ern shot of the city street cor­ner that added so much to rock his­to­ry.

via Gui­tar World

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jimi Hen­drix Wreaks Hav­oc on the Lulu Show, Gets Banned From the BBC (1969)

Jimi Hen­drix Plays “Sgt. Pepper’s Lone­ly Hearts Club Band” for The Bea­t­les, Just Three Days After the Album’s Release (1967)

Hear a Great 4‑Hour Radio Doc­u­men­tary on the Life & Music of Jimi Hen­drix: Fea­tures Rare Record­ings & Inter­views

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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Comments (2)
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  • Shane says:

    Such a pity it requires Face­book to watch. I’m not on Face­book

  • Perveiz khan says:

    I have lived in Chelms­ford since March 1970 which makes it over 51 years. Such to joy to know and see this footage of jimi hen­drix being ear­li­est known in Eng­land. It is fan­tas­tic to watch and hear. Peo­ple who saw that were so lucky and blessed. We won’t see­ing his like again.

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