Opening for what would have been the legend’s 70th¬†birthday, Hear My Train a Comin‚Äô focuses squarely on the nine months which transformed Hendrix into a megastar.
Over 100 clippings, letters, items of clothing, and more map Jimi‚Äôs arrival, under the wing of¬† The Animals‚Äô bassist Chad Chandler, in September 1966 until his return to America to play the Monterey International Pop festival.
Although there is a mural time line of Jimi‚Äôs life greeting you at the entrance, his time as a guitarist with Little Richard and Arthur Lee, and early death are left for another day.
The exhibit sheds fascinating and emotional light on an icon. There is a selection of his personal records, the original publishing contract he signed with Pall Music and his thumbed copy of the book which inspired Purple Haze, PJ Farmer‚Äôs science fiction novel Light of the Night.
The walls are covered with press clippings including Paul McCartney‚Äôs review of Purple Haze for Melody Maker: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs breaking out all over the place… Hooray‚ÄĚ and Mick Jagger quotes: ‚ÄúThat Jimi Hendrix record is just great! I wish I‚Äôd done it‚ÄĚ.
However, it‚Äôs a simple postcard to his father which stands as the exhibition’s highlight, shedding a unique view on to his relationships, and his dreams as it reads:
‚ÄúI have my own group and will have a record coming out in two months called Hey Joe by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. I hope you get this card‚Ä¶ I think things are getting a little better.‚ÄĚ
The Hospital Club‚Äôs gallery is crammed with magical artefacts in captivating cabinets which go beyond rock-ology to give an insight into swinging London, its fashion and excitement, but also into human psychology and how it changes by absorbing¬† foreign cultures and mannerisms.
It has been curated by Seattle‚Äôs rock and sci-fi museum EMP, which is a pilgrimage for any music fan,¬†so the artefacts are of the highest calibre and arranged in a clear and intriguing way.
Although it‚Äôs not a large exhibit, and the cuttings are rather dominant, it is an essential show for anyone with an interest in guitars or London‚Äôs music history. Not only are there breathtaking items on display ‚Äď¬†no more spoilers ‚Äď¬†but it‚Äôs also an opportunity to have a peek in the members only Hospital Club.