Photograph by Plitz/Good Times/Cache Agency
On August 26th, 1970, Jimi Hendrix celebrated the official opening of his Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan’s West Village. It would be the last time he ever set foot in his beloved recording sanctuary; he died three weeks later in London at age 27 after ingesting a powerful dose of the sedative Vesperax. But a month prior to the party, the man Rolling Stone would later name the Greatest Guitarist of All Time laid down a few special tracks, including a jam with Steve Winwood on “Valleys of Neptune,” in Electric Lady’s Studio A. That song, in a different incarnation, is now the centerpiece of a new collection of previously unreleased Hendrix gems called Valleys of Neptune. In the new issue of Rolling Stone on sale at newsstands today, David Fricke dives into Hendrix’s last days and lost recordings, tracing the epic plans and earthly troubles that marked the guitar god’s final months.
Speaking with Hendrix’s longtime engineer Eddie Kramer, as well as bassist Billy Cox and former assistant engineer Tommy Erdelyi (better known as Tommy Ramone), Fricke explores Hendrix’s high hopes for Electric Lady and his anticipated fourth studio album. In an interview just days before his death, the guitarist had said he was thinking “this era of music — sparked off by the Beatles — had come to an end. Something new has got to come, and Jimi Hendrix will be there.”
Fricke also provides a guided tour of the previously unheard Hendrix recordings found in Jimi’s vaults, from the whirlwind nine-minute Band of Gypsys song “Burning Desire” to an alternate master of “May This Be Love” — both of which will see release later this year via Experience Hendrix’s deal with Sony. As a bonus, you can read original Hendrix reviews — including Lenny Kaye’s original take on The Cry of Love, plus Rainbow Bridge, Into the West and War Heroes — online now.
Also in this issue: Mark Binelli’s epic investigation into the real green economy — America’s pot industry; Neil Strauss on dark funnyman Ben Stiller; 2010’s hottest new bands from Free Energy to Mumford & Sons; inside Hole’s chaotic return; Jeff Goodell on coal’s toxic secret; and Josh Eells hops on the road with Muse.