Though Epiphone played a part in the Jimi Hendrix story (Jimi played an Epiphone Wilshire in his early days in Nashville while backing Don Covay and Little Richard on the R&B touring circuit), no single guitar maker can rightfully claim that Jimi's sound was the result of merely pickups or body styles alone.
No other guitarist in popular music over the last 100 years made such an instant impact on both musicians and casual listeners. There is "before" Hendrix and "after" Hendrix and no matter how great the artist--a Beatle or a Rolling Stone--everyone is still in awe of the power of his music and presence 40 years after his death. Even Epiphone's godfather Les Paul heard Jimi in his early days-playing in a bar in New Jersey and knew he was destined for greatness.
The first documentary about Jimi came in the early 70s shortly after Hendrix's accidental death in London. It was a terrific film for the time and featured interviews with Mick Jagger ("I don't care about his business or any of that. I just wish he was still here
") along with girlfriends, bandmates, and a candid interview with The Who's Pete Townshend who spoke of bonding with Eric Clapton about their mutual love for Hendrix and the fear he struck in them upon his arrival in London in 1966.
Now later this month, Bob Smeaton, who produced Festival Express and The Beatles Anthology
, will release a new two-hour PBS American Masters feature, Jimi Hendrix, Hear My Train A Comin'
, featuring new interviews with Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Noel Redding and Mitch Miller of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsy's Billy Cox, engineer Eddie Kramer, and many more. The film will also include newly released footage of Jimi live at the Miami Pop Festival with sound by Eddie Kramer. From what we've seen of the advance trailers, this will be a must-see for music fans. The music couldn't get any fresher but now there's more of it. And look for one of Jimi's favorite guitars, an Epiphone FT79
and many other familiar faces throughout.