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“Behind every great man is a great woman” — a phrase that resonates deeply in the captivating tale of rock legend Jimi Hendrix and the enigmatic Devon Wilson, also known as the infamous “Dolly Dagger”. Their complex relationship is a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the whirlwind of fame and chaos. While their story is often overshadowed by myths and speculations, it unveils a depth that goes beyond the surface.


Who Was Devon Wilson?


Devon Wilson was born in Milwaukee on the 20th October of 1943 as Ida Mae Wilson. Coming from an African American family, she faced poverty and violence during her childhood. She ran away from home and at the age of fifteen changed her name to Devon as she started working on the streets as a prostitute. Despite her constant struggle with drugs, which often gave her a ghost-like complexion, Devon Wilson was exceptionally beautiful and bright, resembling a curvier version of Josephine Baker. Instead of pursuing a modeling career, she found power and identity by attaching herself to the biggest rock stars of the day.

Devon Wilson’s name wasn’t limited to just Jimi Hendrix. She orbited the music scene, leaving traces of her presence in the lives of other luminaries like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and Miles Davis. Known as a “super groupie“, her reputation was both glamorous and controversial. Despite her interactions with other icons, her magnetic pull towards Hendrix was undeniable.

Devon Wilson‘s nomadic life led her to New York, where her path crossed with Jimi Hendrix for the first time.


Jimi Hendrix and Devon Wilson’s Relationship


Jimi Hendrix’s rise to stardom was meteoric, casting him into a world of adoration and attention. Amidst the admirers, one figure stood out—Devon Wilson. More than just a fleeting presence, she became an integral part of his life.

She had stepped up to the title of groupie by 1967, and for the next three years, she would be an on-and-off partner in Jimi Hendrix’s bed. Once she had Jimi in her sights, she pursued him relentlessly.

The relationship between Devon Wilson and Jimi Hendrix was, to put it politely, unusual. Their occasional intimacy seemed more like a rivalry or sibling dynamic than a typical romantic union. Devon frequently informed Jimi about her other partners, including women, given her bisexuality. Simultaneously, Jimi Hendrix bragged about his encounters with other groupies. Devon Wilson played a role in procuring drugs for him, against the wishes of his friends, and actively encouraged the excesses that contributed to their shared downfall.

Some say Jimi Hendrix‘s bond with Devon Wilson was his closest. Hendrix, known for emotional distance, found in Wilson a fiercely protective presence during his groundbreaking recordings that transformed rock and psychedelic music.

In 1969, Devon Wilson got deep into cocaine and heroin, dragging Jimi along. Jimi’s friend Herbie Worthington, who saw it all, noted, “She was a major groupie, but also smart and loyal to Jimi. If you want to control someone, getting high together is a powerful way.” Devon even followed Jimi Hendrix to England a couple of times.

In the summer of 1969, Jimi Hendrix moved from London to New York. With Kathy Etchingham gone, Carmen Borrero and Devon Wilson became his preferred companions. Devon posed a significant obstacle to anyone seeking a relationship with Jimi. “Devon had been a longtime junkie by then” Carmen Borrero explained. Through Devon Wilson, Jimi started using heroin.

Some say Jimi Hendrix‘s bond with Devon Wilson was his closest. Hendrix, known for emotional distance, found in Wilson a fiercely protective presence during his groundbreaking recordings that transformed rock and psychedelic music.


The Decline of Devon Wilson and Jimi Hendrix Bond

In their peculiar relationship, control wielded a more potent influence than drugs. As Jimi Hendrix‘s fame grew, their connection deteriorated, mainly due to Devon’s deepening heroin addiction. Her increasing drug dependence became evident, impacting her appearance: her eyelids drooped, and she neglected her grooming. Once a stunning figure in rock ‘n’ roll, her heroin addiction had taken a toll that summer of ’70.

As Jimi Hendrix attempted to distance himself, Devon Wilson grew more jealous and possessive. In August 1970, eager to join Jimi Hendrix on his European tour, she was put off. According to Jimi Hendrix’s biography, “Room Full of MirrorsDevon Wilson had tracked him down by phone, expressing displeasure about Jimi’s rumored involvement with a Danish model. Kirsten Nefer overheard a call where Jimi exclaimed, “Devon, get off my back, for Christ’s sake!

Regardless, Devon Wilson flew to London and, in the three days leading to Jimi Hendrix’s death, was present in his inner circle, including the party at Pete Cameron’s home, the last place Jimi was seen in public.


Who Was the Inspiration Behind Jimi Hendrix’s Song “Dolly Dagger”?


The song “Dolly Dagger,” a manifestation of Jimi Hendrix’s musical genius, is believed to be inspired by none other than Devon Wilson. The title itself hints at her association with Mick Jagger, another rock legend. Embedded in the lyrics, the line “she drinks her blood from a jagged edge” is thought to allude to an incident at a party where Devon was observed drawing blood from a cut on Mick Jagger’s finger, while Hendrix observed from a distance. This poetic interpretation underscores the intricacy of their relationship.

Jimi’s bond with Devon held complexities beyond the surface. The song also includes the line, Better watch out baby, here comes your master, along with a reference to her during the lead, “Come on Devon and gimme some of that heaven.” This reveals Jimi’s deep connection with her, hinting at the intricate dynamics of their relationship.


What Happened to Devon Wilson After Jimi Hendrix’s Death?


The aftermath of Jimi Hendrix’s death cast a shadow that Devon Wilson struggled to escape. Battling drug addiction, she found herself spiraling into a pit of despair. Devon Wilson’s story turned tragic with her mysterious death in February 1971. Falling from the 8th-floor balcony of the Chelsea Hotel in New York, the circumstances—whether accidental, intentional, or influenced by foul play—remain unknown.

Despite various conspiracy theories, the unfortunate reality is that Devon Wilson’s death probably resulted from the steep decline initiated when Jimi Hendrix died.

In a tragic, almost theatrical manner, their two names will forever be linked—not only for the impact they had on each other’s existence but primarily because they lost their lives suddenly, both at the fateful age of 27. Despite not being part of the infamous “27 Club” a term reserved for iconic artists who died at 27, which includes, among others, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt CobainDevon Wilson left her mark on history through songs like “Dolly Dagger” and her presence in the lives of many of these remarkable artists.

In conclusion, behind the rock legend was a woman whose presence went beyond the stereotypical “groupie” label. Devon Wilson’s enigmatic life and, especially, death still captivate the curiosity of Jimi Hendrix fans and those curious about the music scene of the ’60s, so her existence undoubtedly is part of rock history.


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Jimi Hendrix – Dolly Dagger (Official Video)


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