The Reason Jimi Hendrix Was Dismissed From Little Richard’s Band

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Both Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix can be considered among the greatest visionaries of the music world. Little Richard earned a huge reputation starting in the 1950s. His dynamic and flamboyant style onstage made him one of the most famous names of popular music. Looking back at that time of segregation, it wasn’t easy for a black artist to establish himself in the music scene mostly dominated by white artists.

However, Little Richard managed to build a bridge between black and white audiences, which was pretty hard at the time. He was a great source of inspiration for various prominent names like Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, and Buddy Holly. Another famous figure who was heavily influenced by Richard’s music was none other than Jimi Hendrix.

It may be surprising to some people to learn that Jimi Hendrix crossed his path with Little Richard before moving to England. The two legends started to work together when Little Richard invited Jimi to play in his backup band, the Upsetters. Although they were greatly inspired by each other’s music, unfortunately, they had other conflicts to deal with.

How Did Jimi Hendrix Start To Play With Little Richard?

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Actually, Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard’s acquaintance goes way back before Hendrix’s involvement within his band. At the time, Richard had a five-year break from rock and roll music to reinvent himself as a Christian. As soon as Jimi’s brother heard that Little Richard was in the city, he picked up Hendrix to meet him.

Later on, Jimi and his brother also went to watch Richard preach at the church. It was almost five years after their first encounter that the two reconvened again. In 1962, Little Richard decided to return to music and revive his fame. Jimi Hendrix had already started to make himself heard by playing with various names.

Little Richard was still one of Jimi Hendrix’s heroes so he was extremely happy when Richard asked him to join the band. Richard recognized Hendrix’s great talent and also featured him in some of the records. They recorded two songs, ‘I Don’t Know What You’ve Got (But It’s Got Me)’ and ‘Dancing All Around the World’ together. Although the two seemed to get along well at the beginning, they also couldn’t escape the challenges.

Why Was Jimi Hendrix Fired From Little Richard’s Band?

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Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix naturally began to spend so much time together during this period. As stated before, Hendrix was enormously inspired by his music and also his style. Jimi gradually started to look like Richard as he dressed similar to him and emulated his appearance. However, Little Richard was not happy with this situation as he didn’t want someone else to get ahead of him.

Richard harshly criticized Jimi and the other band members and made them turn back to their old styles. After that incident, Little Richard also withheld their payment for weeks. Richard thought that he had a right to do that because he was the one who gave Jimi his first big break. He thought that Hendrix should have been grateful to him for doing that.

Following that, Jimi Hendrix was fired from the band and he took a different path in his music career. A few years after their break-up, Hendrix went to see Little Richard and asked for his unpaid money. Little Richard laughed when he asked for his money and reminded him that he had missed the bus. Jimi had missed the bus to a gig once, which led to him being fired by Richard.

We still don’t know that whether Jimi could take his money or not. The two legendary names actually had a good relationship on the musical level but apparently, their characters clashed at some points. They never criticized each other’s musicianship but working together was obviously not possible.