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Setting the Stage

In October of 1966, the music scene was vibrant and ever-evolving. Eric Clapton, often hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, was a member of the supergroup Cream. Cream had already made their mark with hits like “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room.” Meanwhile, Jimi Hendrix, a virtuoso guitarist with an innovative approach to music, was already causing a stir with his unique style and jaw-dropping performances.

Jimi Hendrix’s Introduction to Cream

Just weeks after the electrifying jam session where Jimi Hendrix joined Eric Clapton and Cream on stage in London, a remarkable turn of events occurred. Hendrix’s manager, Chas Chandler, recognized the potential in Hendrix’s talent and arranged for him to get a passport so he could travel to London. Chandler knew that Cream had to witness Hendrix’s artistry firsthand. At their first meeting, held during one of Cream’s weekend gigs, Jimi pulled out all the stops.

A Show-Stopping Performance

The stage was set for an encounter that would reverberate through music history. As the audience anticipated the musical exchange, Jimi Hendrix launched into a version of “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf. The impact was immediate and overwhelming. As the chords echoed through the venue, Eric Clapton’s hands seemingly dropped off the guitar in astonishment. He left the stage in a state of awe, his expectations shattered by the sheer virtuosity and innovative approach of Jimi Hendrix.

Chas Chandler, recalling the moment, revealed that Clapton’s reaction was palpable. He noted, “Clapton stood there and his hands dropped off the guitar. He lurched off the stage. I thought, ‘Oh God, it’s happening now.’ I went backstage and [Clapton] was trying to get a match to a cigarette.” The impact of Hendrix’s performance was so profound that it left even “God” Eric Clapton momentarily stunned.

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Influence on Eric Clapton aproach to his Guitar an Mutual Respect

This moment in history, the Jimi Hendrix’s jam session with Cream, gave an impact on Eric Clapton’s perception of music. This moment wasn’t just about virtuosity, it was a testament of the powerful guitarist Jimi Hendrix was.

The friendship that developed between Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix was intense, even though it was brief. The two guitarists recognized each other’s immense power with the instrument, and their mutual respect was evident even before Hendrix’s tragic passing. Their initial meeting, while not without its complexities, ultimately changed the way guitarists aproach their instrument.

Hendrix’s Arrival: Music History Rewritten

Hendrix’s first appearance in England wasn’t just a mere performance; it was a seismic event that shook up the established order. The mesmerizing whirlwind of Hendrix’s kaleidoscopic musical wonder captivated the public and immediately captivated the attention of the country’s guitar royalty, with none other than Eric Clapton witnessing the spectacle. Clapton, a figure known for his guitar prowess, stood witness as he was temporarily dethroned by Hendrix’s sheer brilliance. The fact that Clapton, a competitive player in his own right, was willing to let Hendrix reign supreme speaks volumes about the profound respect he held for Hendrix and the friendship that was beginning to blossom.

Why Did Jimi Hendrix Love so much “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf?

Jimi Hendrix’s affinity for the song “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the track’s raw energy and electrifying blues elements resonated deeply with Hendrix’s own musical style. “Killing Floor” offered Hendrix a platform to express his creativity through intricate guitar work and improvisation. Additionally, Hendrix was known to pay homage to his influences by incorporating their songs into his performances. Hendrix not only showcased his admiration for Howlin’ Wolf’s work but also infused his own unique style, creating a captivating fusion of old and new.

Furthermore, the song’s themes of struggle, conflict, and the harsh realities of life may have resonated with Hendrix’s own experiences in his rough childhood.

In essence, Jimi Hendrix’s fondness for “Killing Floor” can be attributed to its musical compatibility with his style, his desire to pay homage to his blues influences, and the thematic resonance that allowed him to infuse his performances with depth and emotion.

Two Guitar Gods: Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, having a good time.
Two Guitar Gods: Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, having a good time.
Credit: RockClebrities
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