The Guitar God Paul McCartney And Eric Clapton Showed Respect

The Beatles released their iconic album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967. The record was successful in every aspect as it spent many weeks at the top on the UK Record Retailer and Billboard Top LPs chart in the US and sold more than 32 million copies. The album was an immense delight for the Beatles’ fans since its release was a defining moment in 1960s pop culture.

Upon its release, the album’s title track became a huge hit and phenomenon. After it quickly became one of the most loved songs on the album, one of the musicians at the time decided to play it a few days after it came out. Though it was a bold move to play a Beatles song already, Jimi Hendrix performed it before Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton, who went to see what this new ‘Guitar God’ had to offer as a sign of respect.

What Happened At The Hendrix Concert?

During a conversation with Steven Colbert, Paul McCartney remembered when Jimi Hendrix decided to open one of his shows with ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ Before reflecting on his performance, McCartney admitted that he, Eric Clapton, and Pete Townshend went to the show to see the new ‘Guitar God’ many people talked about frequently.

While reminiscing those times, the musician praised how Hendrix played the song, especially that he slid the strings to make a specific sound. However, when he bent them, the guitar went out of tune during the first song of his setlist. As McCartney wondered how Hendrix would tune his guitar to continue the show, this new player proved himself to be fearless.

Knowing Eric Clapton was in the audience, Hendrix was brave enough to call ‘The God’ from the crowd to come and tune his guitar on stage. Naturally, Clapton didn’t come on stage and hid from Hendrix while pretending to be not there. Although Hendrix dared to ask a musician like Clapton to tune his guitar, the legendary guitarist didn’t come up on stage to help another guitar player who wasn’t an icon, at least not at that time.

Here is how McCartney told the story:

“It was there, Clapton was there, Townshend was there. We all came to see this new guitar God. We released ‘Sgt. Pepper’ on a Friday, two days later, on Sunday, he’d learned it, and he played it. He played a great version of it, but he had this vibrator on. We’re going, ‘Woah, great, great.’ But we knew he was out of tune.

You stretch the strings, and in those days, that would send you out of tune. This is his first number. So we’re looking, ‘What is he gonna do?’ He starts looking for Eric Clapton in the audience. ‘Is Eric out there, man?’ Eric is there, but Eric’s hiding. Jimi spots him and says, ‘Would you come up and tune this thing for me?'”

Steven Colbert asked:

“Did Clapton go up and tune it?”

McCartney replied:

No.”

You can watch the interview below.