Published on August 12th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.0
Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Hotel Incident: The Inside Story of His Arrest in Sweden
Beyond the iconic riffs and transcendent performances lies an enigmatic incident from 1968 that casts a shadow on Jimi Hendrix career/ persona. By examining the circumstances that led to Jimi Hendrix arrest in Sweden and its aftermath, and the intricate elements that shaped Hendrix’s life, we discover a more multifaceted perspective of the man behind the legend (namely, the “demons” that would appear when Hendrix drank too much alcohol). This article explores the tumultuous events of the night when Jimi Hendrix was arrested in Sweden due to a hotel altercation.
Jimi Hendrix Swedish Hotel Incident: What Really Happened?
The Jimi Hendrix Experience landed in Gothenburg on January 3, 1968 for a quick four-date tour of Sweden and Denmark. In the early morning hours of January 4, Hendrix becomes angry when fans try to get into his room at the Hotel Opalen.
Eager for a night of adventure, after a show, The Experience decided to hit the town and go to a club for a good time. Their destination was none other than Klubb Karl, a renowned club known for its electric atmosphere. The group eventually made their way back to the Hotel Opalen, with the clock striking 2am. However, their enthusiasm for the night was far from ending. Once back in the hotel, they carried on the festivities within drummer Mitch Mitchell’s room. Accompanied by a circle of close friends, the party continued well into the early hours.
When the clock hits 4am, a guest staying on the floor below was disturbed by the cacophony Hendrix and the others were making. Moved by the situation, the night receptionist went to investigate the matter. With a key in hand, they entered the room that had become the epicenter of the disturbance. What they discovered was a scene of chaos and turmoil. There lay Hendrix, upon the bed, surrounded by a pool of blood. The room itself bore the scars of a violent outburst, with shattered glass as testimony to the fury that had happened.
It became evident that the room’s state was a consequence of an apparent fit of anger and recklessness, fueled by a mixture of drugs and alcohol. Among the chaos, the Hendrix’s hand bore the marks of injury, a result of the frenzied destruction he had unleashed. The situation was grave enough to warrant the intervention of law enforcement. As the police arrived at the scene, Hendrix was arrested and subsequently transported to the hospital for the medical attention.
Jimi Hendrix Arrest in Sweden and Hand Injuries
Police in Gothenberg arrest Jimi Hendrix for smashing a plate glass window. He is taken to a local hospital, where he receives stitches in his right hand. This incident temporarily affected his ability to play guitar. The police, however, imposed an immediate travel ban on Hendrix, detaining him for two weeks and ordering him to report to the police station every day at 2 p.m. until his court appearance on January 16th, 1968. Nevertheless, Jimi Hendrix and the Experience were still allowed to perform their consecutive shows in Sandviken and Stockholm.
After concerts in Copenhagen and Stockholm, Mitch and Noel went back to England whilst Jimi returned to Gothenburg, and on the 16th he appeared in court. He was fined 3,200 Swedish Crowns, equivalent to about £200 at the time.
How Many Times Were Jimi Hendrix Jailed?
Jimi Hendrix had several encounters with the law throughout his life, but he was only officially arrested and jailed a few times. The exact number of times he was jailed can be a bit unclear due to conflicting reports and different incidents. However, here are a few notable instances:
- Toronto Airport, 1969: Hendrix and his entourage were detained at Toronto International Airport on May 3, 1969, after customs officials found heroin and hashish in his luggage. He was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics. He was released on bail and later acquitted of the charges.
- New York, 1969: In September 1969, Hendrix was arrested in New York for possession of heroin. He claimed the drugs were planted in his bag by someone else. The case was eventually dismissed.
But weren’t these crazy weeks, from the life of a rock legend, that prevented the Experience from playing this incredible live version of the song “Little Wing”! Check out the video below.