Mick Jagger’s favourite Jimi Hendrix song: “A great record”

When Jimi Hendrix made his remarkable arrival in England in 1966, he wasted no time in captivating audiences, quickly gaining widespread acclaim. Within a few months, Hendrix achieved a hit record with ‘Hey Joe’. Among the first to witness his brilliance in person was Mick Jagger, the frontman of The Rolling Stones, initiating a lifelong admiration for Hendrix’s music.

When Jagger first witnessed Hendrix perform live, it wasn’t at Woodstock or Monterrey Pop, but in an empty room filled with disinterested people from the music industry. Before Hendrix took to the stage, the atmosphere was lacklustre, but once he started performing, it became evident that they were in the presence of greatness. Jagger holds vivid memories of that evening, deeply impacted by Hendrix’s remarkable talent.

Despite his early exposure to Hendrix and hopping aboard the hype train at the first stop, Jagger still couldn’t have foreseen what the musician would go on to achieve. Although his career was cut cruelly short at age 27, in the eyes of most, Hendrix remains the most talented technician ever to pick up a guitar.

During an appearance on the Celebrity Playlist Podcast in 2010, Jagger reflected on the recording sessions for The Rolling Stones’ album Exile On Main St and the songs that inspired the group during that turbulent time.

Jagger highlighted ‘Voodoo Child’ by Hendrix as a favourite and remarked: “This was a great record. There were two versions of this wasn’t there, this is the one they call ‘Slight Return’, which is the short version, and there is a slow version isn’t there, but this is the short version that everyone knows that he used to play live.”

The classic track appeared as the closing track on Electric Ladyland, the third album from the Jimi Hendrix Experience that arrived in 1968. By this point, Hendrix was an eminent name in the music industry, with the world at his fingertips and looked like an unstoppable force. After being re-released after Hendrix’s death, the track posthumously became his first number one.

Although Jagger never grew remarkably close with Hendrix, they were acquaintances, and he enjoyed the time he spent in the guitarist’s company. The frontman recalled: “He used to come and visit us in the studio occasionally at Olympic; there was more than one room; people would record in another room, and they’d just get by.”

When probed about what Hendrix was like, Jagger said: “He was a really nice bloke, that’s a very English thing to say, ‘He’s a really nice bloke that Jimi Hendrix.’”

Jagger continued: “Everyone was a bit stoned during this time as well, and it seemed when I met him that he was very together. And he’d done this long apprenticeship in all these various blues and soul bands, had this big connection with England. I saw him when he first came round to England when Chas Chandler was taking him around, showcasing him, y’know, in different clubs.”

Elaborating further on the initial encounter, Jagger added: “I saw him in this club called The Revolution. It was empty, to be honest, because it was just a showcase, and nobody knew anything about Jimi Hendrix, but he was quite obviously an amazing player.”

Although Hendrix had less than five years at the top of the music industry, ‘Voodoo Child’ is the perfect reminder of his otherworldly talent and the mark he sadly left behind.

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