The Jimi Hendrix Experience played at the London Astoria on March 31, 1967. Also on the bill were Cat Stevens, The Walker Brothers and Englebert Humperdink. While the band waited to perform, Hendrix and his manager Chas Chandler were discussing ways in which they could increase the band’s media exposure. When Chandler asked journalist Keith Altham for advice, Altham suggested that they needed to do something more dramatic than the stage show of The Who, which involved the smashing of instruments. Hendrix joked: “Maybe I can smash up an elephant”, to which Altham replied: “Well, it’s a pity you can’t set fire to your guitar”.
Chandler then asked road manager Gerry Stickells to find some lighter fluid. During the show, Hendrix gave an especially dynamic performance before setting his Fender Stratocaster on fire at the end of a 45-minute set. In the wake of the stunt, members of London’s press labeled Hendrix the “Black Elvis” and the “Wild Man of Borneo”
Tony Garland, Hendrix’s press agent scooped up the remains of the Strat, took them home and placed them in the garage of his parents southern U.K. home.
The story would have ended there, but…. Fast forward 30 years or so.
Garland’s nephew found the remains of the guitar, did a little research and the burnt guitar was auctioned off in 2007 for $575,000.
The first time Jimi lit his guitar on fire, 53 years ago today. Here is a picture of the guitar.
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The Jimi Hendrix Experience played at the London Astoria on March 31, 1967. Also on the bill were Cat Stevens, The…