Hendrix dad slated son’s singing
Doubts: Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix’s sister Janie has recalled the moment when the guitar icon told his incredulous father that he was going to sing as well as play guitar.
The axe icon didn’t rate his own voice – an attitude reinforced by his dad. But when he prepared to travel to the UK ahead of what would be his golden era, the star-in-waiting had a solution to the problem.
Janie tells Music Radar: “Jimi never thought he was much of a singer. My dad was a decent singer and he could be brutally honest. He would say, ‘You can’t sing, so it’s good you can play guitar.’ He was very supportive of him in the guitar arena, but he was just being honest.
“When Jimi was going to England he was all excited, telling my dad: ‘They’re putting a group behind me – I’m off to the big time. I’m going to change the spelling of my name, and guess what? They want me to sing!’
“My dad was like, ‘Oh, goodness!’ But Jimi said, ‘They’re all just hollering out there, so I’m gonna holler like the rest of them.’”
Janie has gathered a new collection of lyrics written by her brother, many of which were never matched up to music. “No one knows he wrote more than 110 songs,” she says. “We unearthed some unpublished songs. We don’t have music to those – they’re just words.
“They’re timeless: about times of then, times of yesteryear, times of the future. It’s a message. All his lyrics are a message of love. He’s sharing dreams he had, how he wants our world to be.”
Meanwhile, Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz has recalled how he argued for Hendrix to become the group’s touring support act at the height of their fame in 1967.
Dolenz says: “I’m the one who suggested him. I was a fan before he was famous – I’d seen him at the Monterey Pop Festival. I remember being blown away by his skill, his musicianship and his style.
“On tour we couldn’t always watch the opening act because we had to be smuggled into the venue. We’d get to watch him sometimes, but mostly I remember the offstage stuff.
“We hung out, we partied, we goofed around. We went to clubs and stuff like that. He was a lovely, very sweet guy.”