Jimi Hendrix’s Home Audio System & Record Collection Gets Recreated in His London Flat

A vis­it to William Faulkner’s house once con­vinced me I’d seen his ghost. Mil­lions of peo­ple com­mune with Elvis’s spir­it at Grace­land each year. Some lucky per­son will end up with Toni Morrison’s per­son­al library, and maybe also her Tribeca con­do. No mat­ter how well we think we know a favorite artist, there’s noth­ing like con­nect­ing with the spaces and things they left behind. Since 2016, Jimi Hen­drix devo­tees have been able to make a pil­grim­age to the Lon­don apart­ment he shared with his girl­friend, Kathy Etch­ing­ham, between 1968 and 1969.

The flat on 23 Brook Street has been set up the way it was when Hen­drix lived there, thanks to Han­del & Hen­drix in Lon­don, who also main­tain the house of George Frid­er­ic Han­del just next door. The only oth­er con­nec­tion between the two artists is Hendrix’s own­er­ship of two copies of Handel’s Mes­si­ah, “both of which show signs of wear and tear,” the foun­da­tion notes, and “which would have been uncan­ny lis­ten­ing so near to where it was com­posed.” Jimi taste­ful­ly dec­o­rat­ed the apart­ment to his tastes, and told Etch­ing­ham it was “my first real home of my own.”

Hendrix’s home was made com­plete by a 100-plus col­lec­tion of LPs and a high-end audio sys­tem that has recent­ly been recre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the mak­ers of the orig­i­nal com­po­nents: Bang & Olufsen, Lowther, and LEAK sup­ply the same or sim­i­lar mod­els of turntable, speak­er, and ampli­fi­er, respec­tive­ly, on which Jimi lis­tened to Han­del next door to the ghost of Han­del. Hear­ing those records in Jimi’s space, the way he heard them, says Nabi­hah Iqbal in a video that debuted on Hendrix’s birth­day, Novem­ber 27th, is “a time-trav­el­ing expe­ri­ence.”

Iqbal choos­es her favorites from the collection—Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Mud­dy Waters, Djan­go Reinhardt—discussing them as they qui­et­ly play in the back­ground. For the full Hen­drix expe­ri­ence, we’d need to crank the vin­tage ampli­fi­er to 11. He liked to lis­ten loud. Etch­ing­ham “recalled that they had to ‘stick a ha’penny with sel­l­otape onto the turntable arm… oth­er­wise it would jump up and down the loud­er it got.” He would occa­sion­al­ly blow the rein­forced speak­ers dur­ing par­ties and have to take them in for repair.

The flat also func­tioned as a com­po­si­tion room, and Hendrix’s friends stopped by to jam. (Richie Havens debuted his “anti-war anthem ‘Hand­some John­ny’ to a small par­ty in the flat on Hendrix’s Epi­phone acoustic gui­tar.”) Han­del & Hen­drix in Lon­don have revived the prac­tice with their Hen­drix Flat Ses­sions, invit­ing musi­cians to play in the space. Above, Mar­cus Macha­do talks about what Hen­drix means to him and jams a ver­sion of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” while sit­ting on Hendrix’s bed.

See sev­er­al more Hen­drix Flat Ses­sions here. The records in Hen­drix’s col­lec­tion “cov­er blues, jazz, folk, rock, psy­che­delia and even a hand­ful of clas­si­cal LPs.” See Iqbal’s selec­tions, with anno­ta­tions from Han­del & Hen­drix in Lon­don, here. The Hen­drix Flat is cur­rent­ly open to the pub­lic on Sat­ur­days.

via Vinyl Fac­to­ry

Relat­ed Con­tent:  

Watch Rare Footage of Jimi Hen­drix Per­form­ing “Voodoo Child” in Maui, Plus a Trail­er for a New Doc­u­men­tary on Jimi Hendrix’s Leg­endary Maui Per­for­mances (1970)

How Sci­ence Fic­tion Formed Jimi Hen­drix

Behold Moe­bius’ Many Psy­che­del­ic Illus­tra­tions of Jimi Hen­drix

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Loren Williams says:

    The Jimi Hen­drix lega­cy qui­et­ly lives on! Check out Jim­i’s cousin Eddy Hall for free on Sound­Cloud. You won’t be dis­ap­point­ed. Songs titled Sad­ly Hap­py, The World’s Going Down, and Solu­tion, include gui­tar shred­ding rem­i­nis­cent of James Mar­shall Hen­drix.

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