Jimi Hendrix and his mesmerizing guitar-based abilities seem to have been pretty tough to resist for anyone with a decent set of ears in the late 1960s. Before he struck a note, his appearance on stage in colorful attire and with an upside-down Stratocaster was a sight to behold.
Hendrix, who was as famous as he was skilled, unavoidably had a significant influence on the 1970s psychedelic rock movement and its progeny. Pink Floyd, who experienced their ascent to popularity alongside Hendrix in late 1960s London, was one of his dedicated followers.
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason saw Jimi Hendrix in 1966 before The Experience.
In an interview with BBC Radio 2’s ‘Tracks of My Years,’ Gilmour named Hendrix’s ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ as one of his all-time favorites and detailed his first “Experience.”
“Jimi Hendrix, fantastic,” he said, revealing his choice. “I went to a club in south Kensington in 1966, and this kid got on stage with Brian Auger and the Trinity and [held] the guitar the other way around [upside down] and started playing. Myself and the whole place was with their jaws hanging open.”
He continued: “I went, next day, to the record shops and I said ‘You got anything by this guy Jimi Hendrix?’ and they said ‘Well, we’ve got a James Hendrix’. He hadn’t yet done anything, so I became rather an avid fan waiting for his first release. Also, this is one of his beautiful ballads that I really love.”
Mason was also invited to the BBC’s ‘Tracks of My Years’ in 2020. Naturally, missing Hendrix from his list would have caused him great pain. Mason selected ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ Hendrix’s 1968 powerful rendition of Bob Dylan’s original, as his favorite.
“Well, I chose this because it was really covering two bases. First of all – big fan of Jimi Hendrix,” Mason said, introducing the song. “I mean, I saw him the first time he came to the UK – it was an extraordinary evening.”
“He came on as a guest of Cream,” he continued. “And that in itself was a pretty extraordinary moment for me. Because that’s when I decided I wanted to be a full-on rock drummer like Ginger Baker rather than an architect. Which is the way I was heading at the time”.