Jimi Hendrix’s First Reaction To Eric Clapton
Before gaining international fame and commercial success thanks to his exceptional guitar playing, Jimi Hendrix took place in several local bands and performed with different musicians as a backing artist. However, none of them was enough for a passionate man like Hendrix, who couldn’t earn his living with these performances; the main reason these musicians didn’t discover the guitarist’s true talent.
The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ girlfriend Linda was different from them, so she decided to recommend Hendrix to Richards. While he was a part of Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, the guitarist talked about him with the band’s manager, but they didn’t want to work with a young and inexperienced musician. Another newbie manager disagreed with them, which was the beginning of his successful career. While gaining fame, he met many other notable names, including Eric Clapton, about whom Hendrix talked.
The Beginning Of Jimi Hendrix’s Fame
Producer and manager Chas Chandler could see Jimi Hendrix’s true potential after watching him play in Cafe Wha?, a Greenwich Village, New York City nightclub. He met and became his manager, and Chandler brought him to England in 1966. Hendrix’s arrival would change the UK rock stage, and he became a possible threat or rival for some guitar players such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and many more.
Shortly after, Chandler began looking for new musicians to form a backing band for Hendrix, which would become The Jimi Hendrix Experience. He recruited Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell as the group’s members, and they started creating and performing legendary songs that are a part of the late guitar player’s legacy. Also, collaborating with Cream members was an excellent chance for the young guitarist.
What Did Jimi Hendrix Think About Eric Clapton?
Chandler contacted Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker and asked them whether Hendrix could be in some of their shows; their answer was yes. Clapton was shocked and left speechless after the guitarist played an iconic blues song from Howlin’ Wolf named ‘Killing Floor’ because probably he wasn’t expecting such an unbelievable and extraordinary performance from him. In addition, it was a milestone moment in their close friendship.
However, Clapton wasn’t the only one impressed after that famous gig that brought together two legends, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. In his previous interview with Steve Barker, Hendrix shared his ideas about Clapton’s performance, which Louder Than War shared. The late guitarist revealed that some British guitarists failed to feel, but Clapton wasn’t like them, and Hendrix’s reaction to his playing was ‘God.’
In Hendrix’s words, he said:
“Well, I never had a chance to get on the scene over there, but from what I’ve seen in England, it’s pretty good. I thought it could be a whole lot of cats who could play it but not feel it. But I was surprised, especially when I heard Eric Clapton, man. It was ridiculous. I thought, ‘God!’ Every time we get together, that’s all we talk about, playing music.”
Furthermore, along with Clapton, Hendrix loved and admired Cream so much that he willingly got into trouble after hearing their breakup announcement. During his band’s performance on Lulu’s TV show on BBC in January 1969, he changed the setlist and played Cream’s ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ to pay tribute to them, causing a ban from BBC.