Jimi Hendrix (Rock A-Z part #47)

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Mentioned in the same sentence, what do Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, Alan ‘Blind Dog’ Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Richey Edwards and Jim Morrison all have in common? Sadly, they’re all posthumously part of the infamous ’27 Club’.

Of course, each will always be remembered first for their incredible contributions to the music industry and the gifts they’ve left which we all love and listen to time and time again years and years after their passing. But, as the ’27 club’ has been coined, sadly, you can’t really think of each now without also thinking about that.

The reason it’s cropped up now is that I’ve been asked (as part of an ice-breaker for a conference I’m attending at the end of the month) to pick three people (living, deceased or fictitious) who I’d invite for a TV chat-show I’m hosting.

Jimi Hendrix is my first choice and I think I’d ask him two key things. Firstly what tune is currently the favourite of the ’27 club’ and secondly, what genre he’d be embracing now had he lived beyond 18 September 1970.

Given similar opportunity, who would you invite and what two questions would you ask?

Meantime and whilst you have a think about that, here’s the excellent Isle of Wight version of ‘Foxy Lady’ performed on 31 August 1970 just three weeks before Jimi died.

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Wildlife Festival

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Wildlife Festival took place over the weekend of 6 & 7 June 2015 at Shoreham Airport, Sussex, UK. The biggest music festival to date in Sussex and one of the biggest in Southern England, it attracted 35,000 for headline acts including George Ezra, Rudimental, Annie Mac, Nas and Disclosure.

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The site was huge; aircraft were grounded for the weekend and the fenced off area over the east-west runway included the main stage, two dance stages like the above built to resemble the art deco 1930’s airport terminus and two massive DJ set marquees.

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Having a festival of such calibre right on one’s doorstep is a massive bonus; being able to walk from home through our town, across the river and into the grounds and hear and see a host of live music and thumping tunes is a second-to-none privilege which very few actually get to be part of. The queue for advance sale tickets back in a winter storm in January was well worth the wait.

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There was so much to choose from that, on the Saturday, all we did was wander from dance tent to marquee to main stage and back, taking in a bit of this and a bit of that and simply soaking up the joy of being there. And in the sun!

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Soul II Soul followed by George Ezra probably stole the show for the Saturday afternoon with similar glory going to Nas and Rudimental for the night time slots. However, the wind had got up by the time Nas came on so we were content to listen to his set over the air as we wandered back home to the warmth.

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Annie Mac’s DJ slot early on Sunday evening ¬†was sublime, capturing the spirt of the occasion and working the enthusiastic crowd admirably towards a crescendo warm up to the kingpin act of the weekend – Sunday night’s Disclosure.

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And what a way to finish a totally stunning festival. Disclosure creamed it. With a light show to quite literally blow your mind and a series of guest performers, the DJ duo of Guy and Howard Lawrence took the enraptured crowd though a blistering set of old and new tracks, including at least half a dozen from their soon-to-be-released new album.

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Hawkwind (A-Z #46)

One of my all-time favourite tracks comes from Hawkwind’s 1971 follow-up to their debut of the previous year. ‘You shouldn’t do that’ – a 15 minute monster – sets the scene as the opening track from “In search of Space and Time” and sealed Hawkwind’s future as a provider of truly tripped-out space rock.

Formed in mid-1969 as ‘Group X’ by ex-Famous Cure members Dave Brock and Mick Slattery, they were joined for what would soon become ‘Hawkwind Zoo’ by Nik Turner, Terry Ollis, Dik Mik and John Harrison. Dropping the ‘zoo’ bit from their name, Hawkweed signed to United Artist in late 1969 and released their debut album late the following summer.

However, although the follow-up ‘In Search of Space & Time’ made it into the top 20, the band smashed into the top 3 the following summer with the release of the single ‘Silver Machine, also from the album. Featuring the pile-driving bass talents of Lemmy Kilmister (aka ‘Lemmy’ of Motorhead fame), the track featured on the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ album released as the soundtrack to the film of the festival, then in its second year.

The success of the single secured Hawkwind a top 20 placing for each of their subsequent four albums on the United Artists label. However, when following the departure of Lemmy for Motorhead, the band signed to ‘Charisma’, although they continued to see moderate success, they were dogged by legal impacts which gradually began to have an impact. Despite this, the band – in a succession of different line-ups – continued and are still together. Dave Brock’s the only original member these days though.