Today the UK label Track Records released the first single by an unknown band called the Jimi Hendrix Experience, a little number called “Hey Joe.”
Hendrix, a supremely talented musician who had never quite been able to gain career traction in the U.S., had arrived in England on September 24. Says Wikipedia,
Hendrix met guitarist Noel Redding at an audition for the New Animals, where Redding’s knowledge of blues progressions impressed Hendrix, who stated that he also liked Redding’s hairstyle. [Manager Chas] Chandler asked Redding if he wanted to play bass guitar in Hendrix’s band; Redding agreed. Chandler then began looking for a drummer and soon after, he contacted Mitch Mitchell through a mutual friend. Mitchell, who had recently been fired from Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, participated in a rehearsal with Redding and Hendrix where they found common ground in their shared interest in rhythm and blues.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Redding and Mitchell are chronically underrated. Hendrix still would have been a genius without them, but they provided a beautifully simpatico platform for Jimi’s pyrotechnics, mixing rock power with jazz nuance.
At this point in the story, though, the Experience was just getting started. They would not start to really make an impact for a few more weeks; we’ll return to this subject later.