Lulu Recalls Jimi Hendrix’s Cream Tribute That Got Him Banned From BBC

Jimi Hendrix’s 1969 appearance on BBC’s prime-time TV show hosted by Lulu caused the late guitarist to be banned from the channel when he delivered an impromptu tribute to Cream, who had just announced their split at the time. Recently chatting with BBC Radio Scotland’s Billy Sloan, Lulu shared the details of Hendrix’s spontaneous action.

“‘What the [f*ck?]’ they said,” revealed the Scottish singer while recalling the reaction of BBC’s management staff. “Anyway, it was one of those moments. I just heard tonight, just before I came on, that Cream had decided to split up, and it was like he was upset. He wanted to pay homage to Cream, and what did he do [humming ‘Sunshine of Your Love].”

Lulu continued, “And there was another Glaswegian in that band. Of course, Jack Bruce, but it was not expected. You didn’t do things like that on BBC at that time, and it was live. So they couldn’t edit it. They wouldn’t say anything to me, but I think if I had been upstairs with the director or producer, and all the cameras were being directed, it would have been mayhem, but of course, he made television. He made it television history.”

The singer added, sharing the aftermath of the performance, “So, I was very glad for that. The people that remind me of that moment… I remember going past his dressing room because I had a hundred changes. I was just running back and forth, and I wasn’t actually able to stand and watch that, but of course, I’ve seen it since.”

Yet, Hendrix apologized to Lulu afterward for leaving her in a difficult situation. Lulu noted, “As I passed his dressing room, he says, ‘Lulu, you know, sorry about it,’ because he was a very nice and sweet soul. Jimi wasn’t a rough or hard man. He wasn’t tough, a gentle soul, and he was apologizing to me, and I was like, ‘Don’t worry about it, you are Jimi Hendrix.’”

While the Jimi Hendrix Experience was playing ‘Hey Joe’ as they were supposed to do, Jimi stopped performing the track at some point and dedicated a cover of ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ to Cream, who had announced their disbandment. The BBC producers were enraged because the band had disrupted the natural flow of the program with an impromptu tribute. So, the band never got the chance to appear on BBC again.