Published on August 28th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.0
In the Shadow of Jimi Hendrix: Noel Redding’s Journey with The Experience
The guitar work of Jimi Hendrix, blazing and groundbreaking, often takes center stage when discussing The Jimi Hendrix Experience. While Hendrix’s role as the driving force behind most of the band’s catalog is undisputed, it’s essential to recognize the contributions of the other members. Among them, bassist Noel Redding often stands in the shadows, despite adding his unique touch to the band’s rich musical legacy.
The Jimi Hendrix Formation
The formation of The Jimi Hendrix Experience was as spontaneous as a Hendrix guitar riff. Chas Chandler, spotted the potential in a young Hendrix playing in New York. Rather than bringing the entire band to the UK, Chandler decided to import just Hendrix and piece together a backing ensemble on English soil. It was in this hasty process that Noel Redding, primarily a guitarist, was brought into the fold as a bassist.
The relationship between Hendrix and Redding was like an electric charge, with both musicians sharing a mutual exhilaration for the music they were crafting and the accompanying rise to fame. However, as Hendrix began to shine brighter in the spotlight, a shadow started to fall on Redding. Their bond wasn’t just about music. Rivalries even extended to the women they disputed!
Did Noel Redding write any songs for The Jimi Hendrix Experience?
The first instance of Redding’s songwriting brilliance was featured in the band’s second album, Axis: Bold as Love (1967). The track “She’s So Fine” was a testament to Redding’s capability to pen songs. By the time Electric Ladyland (1968) was in the works, the dynamics had shifted. Hendrix, ever the experimenter, began inviting other artists to collaborate. While this could’ve easily sidelined Redding, he asserted his presence with “Little Miss Strange“, the second and final song he would contribute to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s discography.
What happened between Jimi Hendrix and Noel Redding?
Despite these contributions, cracks were forming. The brotherly bond that had once united Hendrix and Redding was fracturing. Redding’s desire to step into the limelight, to trade his bass for a guitar, and to have a greater role in songwriting was becoming increasingly evident. The recording of Electric Ladyland was a turning point. Noel felt increasingly marginalized, particularly as Hendrix began playing some basslines himself.
The managerial landscape didn’t help. There were talks, whispers of reshuffling and exploring new band configurations. By the end of the album, the rift was too vast. Redding made the decision to depart, turning his sights to a new project, Fat Mattress. Yet, in a twist of fate, he soon found himself ousted from this venture as well.
What happened to Noel Redding after the Jimi Hendrix Experience?
Post Redding’s exit from the Experience in 1969 and the subsequent dissipation of Fat Mattress, Redding sought solace in new endeavors. He formed Road, a brief stint in the U.S., which bore an eponymous album. Seeking change and tranquility, he relocated to Clonakilty, Ireland, in 1972.
The narrative could have been different. There were whispers of a reunion, a tantalizing prospect for fans worldwide. But fate had other plans. The untimely death of Hendrix in 1970 sealed that chapter forever. The years that followed saw Redding oscillate between a myriad of emotions, from profound sorrow to latent bitterness, painting a portrait of a relationship they once have.
Years later, in 2003, the world bid goodbye to Redding, three weeks after the death of his mother.