Published on September 18th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.0
The Story of When Jimi Hendrix Dedicated A Song to Stevie Nicks
The late 1960s was a transformative period for rock ‘n’ roll. The aura was electric, with the emergence of iconic festivals like Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. It was an era of experimentation, both in terms of music and societal norms. The backdrop of this cultural revolution set the stage for moments like the one between Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Nicks.
Even among his peers, Jimi Hendrix was regarded as a virtuoso. Jimi Hendrix redefined the possibilities of what could be achieved with an electric guitar. His use of feedback, extended solos, and incorporation of blues elements into rock music was groundbreaking. Understanding Jimi Hendrix’s stature in the music industry makes his recognition of a young Stevie Nicks even more significant.
Before Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks had been on quite a journey. Her collaboration with Lindsey Buckingham, both romantically and musically, laid the foundation for what would become one of the most successful rock bands in history. Nicks’ ethereal voice, combined with her poetic songwriting, made her a standout, even in a group filled with talent.
Before Stevie Nicks Became a Member of Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix Performed a Song in Her Honor
Prior to Stevie Nicks teaming up with Fleetwood Mac alongside her then-partner, Lindsey Buckingham, the duo had the privilege of opening for Jimi Hendrix. During that performance, Jimi Hendrix paid tribute to her by dedicating a song.
Many artists have been influenced by Jimi Hendrix over the years, and among his early admirers was Stevie Nicks. Before she and her then-beau, Lindsey Buckingham, launched Buckingham Nicks and long before their iconic stint with Fleetwood Mac, the pair had the opportunity to open for the legendary The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In the annals of rock ‘n’ roll, there are tales of opening acts who eventually rise to monumental fame, much like their predecessors. And in this tale, when Nicks and Buckingham warmed up the stage for Jimi Hendrix, he did something unforgettable: he dedicated a song to Stevie.
“The perk that you get when you do that is that you get to be on the side of the stage when Jimi Hendrix goes on. And he actually dedicated a song to me. He looked over at me and said, ‘This is for you, babe.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re awesome! You are so awesomely cute and handsome and you play so amazing and thank you, Jimi!’”
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham opened for Jimi Hendrix
In the world of music, being an opening act is both a challenge and an opportunity. Many iconic artists started as openers for bigger acts, from The Beatles opening for Roy Orbison to Prince opening for Rick James. This experience can be a rite of passage, testing new bands in front of massive crowds while also offering them a unique learning opportunity.
In the early 1960s, Fritz came together when Bob Aguirre, the drummer from The Castiles – an initial band of Bruce Springsteen – invited Javier Pacheco to play at a high school talent show. They were joined by Cal Roper on bass, Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, and Jody Moreing handling vocals and guitar. By the late 1960s, Fritz had gained significant prominence, leading them to be chosen as the opening act for Jimi Hendrix.
During an interview with Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, Nicks shared how she was first inspired by Hendrix when Fritz had the honor of opening for him.
“I was inspired by Jimi Hendrix from a rock standpoint, because Lindsay and I got to open for him,” she explained. “It was a big huge show in San Fransisco. There was like 20 bands on; there was you, there was 15 more bands and then there was Jimi Hendrix.”
The Role of Female Musicians in the ’60s:
The 1960s, a period synonymous with revolutions, was particularly transformative for women in music. Even as the world was on the brink of significant societal shifts, the music industry remained a challenging place for female artists. The industry was dominated by men, both on stage and behind the scenes. However, a few women broke the mold and made an indelible mark with their talent, determination, and resilience.
Janis Joplin, known for her distinctive voice and electrifying performances, is one such name that stands out. In a 1968 interview with Rolling Stone, Joplin once remarked, “Being an artist is a continuous fight against the world’s conformity.” Her raw emotion, coupled with her powerful voice, made her an icon. Songs like “Piece of My Heart” and “Cry Baby” showcased not just her vocal range but also her ability to convey profound emotions. Tragically, Janis Joplin, along with Jimi Hendrix, both faced personal challenges which led to their untimely deaths, eventually joining the infamous 27 Club.
The bond between Joplin and Jimi Hendrix was one of mutual respect. Both artists, navigating the complexities of fame in the ’60s, found solace in their shared experiences. Their passion for music, combined with their unique styles, made them iconic figures in the industry. However, their friendship was cut short, with both of them leaving the world at the young age of 27, making their legacies even more poignant.
Another influential female musician of the ’60s was Grace Slick. As the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, Slick was an integral part of the psychedelic rock movement. Her strong, clear vocals combined with her skill as a songwriter led to hits like “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”.
Stevie Nicks, while gaining prominence towards the end of the ’60s and into the ’70s, began her journey during this pivotal decade. Even before joining Fleetwood Mac, her collaborations with Lindsey Buckingham demonstrated her unique voice and songwriting ability. In a 2011 interview, she mentioned, “From Janis I learned that to make it as a female musician in a man’s world is tough.”
The challenges faced by these women were multifold. Beyond the struggle to be recognized for their talent, they also had to navigate the personal challenges that came with fame. The industry often had set notions about how female musicians should behave, look, and sound. Yet, these women did not conform. They stood out with their distinct voices and styles, changing the narrative for the generations to come.
It’s also worth noting the impact of other influential women during this time, like Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner. Their stories, struggles, and triumphs add to the rich narrative of female musicians in the ’60s. These artists didn’t just make music; they shaped culture, broke barriers, and became symbols of empowerment.
The Importance of Women in Jimi Hendrix’s Life
Jimi Hendrix, wasn’t just shaped by his innate talent and the socio-political landscape of his time, but also by the women who played significant roles throughout his life. From his formative years to his rapid ascent in the music world, women held both supportive and muse-like positions in his journey.
Jimi Hendrix’s early life was tumultuous, marked by poverty and challenges, and women were central figures during this period. His mother, Lucille Jeter, was only 17 when she gave birth to him. Though their time together was brief, as she passed away when Jimi Hendrix was a teenager, her influence was lasting.
Jimi Hendrix often spoke of the strong memories he had of her, and some even believe that his song “Angel” was written in her memory. His grandmother, Nora Rose Moore, was also instrumental in his upbringing. A strong, independent woman, she introduced young Jimi Henbdrix to the rich cultural heritage of his Cherokee ancestry.
As Jimi Hendrix navigated his way through adulthood and into the world of rock ‘n’ roll, he had many relationships with women who, in many ways, inspired his artistry. Some of these relationships were fleeting, while others left a deeper impact. Kathy Etchingham, for example, was one of his long-term girlfriends and is believed to be the inspiration behind several of his tracks, including “The Wind Cries Mary”. Their relationship, while passionate, had its share of ups and downs, echoing the tumult of the 1960s.
Monika Dannemann, the last woman in Jimi Hendrix’s life, shared a short yet intense period with him. She captured some of the most intimate moments of his final days through her art and photographs. After Jimi Hendrix tragic death, Dannemann dedicated herself to preserving his legacy, often speaking of their deep connection and the plans they had for a future together.
Then there were the iconic women artists of the ’60s who, though not romantically linked to Jimi Hendrix, shared a camaraderie rooted in mutual respect. His relationship with Janis Joplin, for instance, was characterized by mutual admiration. Both were transformative figures in rock ‘n’ roll, pushing boundaries and challenging societal norms. Their bond, while brief, was intense, characterized by a shared understanding of the pressures and joys of fame.
Jimi Hendrix’s connection with women was multifaceted. They were his caretakers, lovers, friends, and muses. They were sources of comfort, inspiration, and sometimes pain. His relationships with them were reflective of the times he lived in – a period of great change and upheaval. The women in Jimi Hendrix life, in various ways, shaped his music, influenced his worldviews, and left an indelible mark on the man he became. Whether through direct inspiration in his songs or subtle influences in his style, the presence and impact of these women are undeniable in the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.
Throughout Jimi Hendrix’s illustrious career, the women in his life played an undeniable role in shaping his personal and artistic journey. From deep familial bonds to the relationships with female contemporaries in the music scene, these interactions added a profound depth and texture to his work. His music often reflected a deep reverence and respect for the influential figures in Jimi Hendrix life.
The poignant gesture of Jimi Hendrix dedicating a song to a young Stevie Nicks serves as a testament to this admiration. This act is an emblematic representation of the importance Jimi Hendrix placed on women, both as artists and as inspirations. The dedication became a formative moment for Nicks, showcasing Jimi Hendrix’s intuitive ability to recognize and uplift fellow musicians. It’s a moment that underscores not just the mutual respect between artists but also Jimi Hendrix’s consistent pattern of celebrating the women around him.
Set against the transformative backdrop of the 1960s, a decade marked by societal upheavals and evolving gender dynamics, the women in Jimi Hendrix’s life stood as pillars of strength and sources of inspiration. As Jimi Hendrix navigated the intricacies of fame and the ever-changing music landscape, the support and camaraderie he found in these women were indispensable.
In retrospection, while Jimi Hendrix’s unparalleled guitar skills and groundbreaking musical innovations often take center stage in discussions about his legacy, it is crucial to delve deeper and acknowledge the intricate web of relationships that enriched his work and life. The women Jimi Hendrix connected with, whether they were family, friends, partners, or professional peers, had a profound impact on him. Their resilience, strength, vulnerability, and spirit echoed in his songs and performances. To fully appreciate Jimi Hendrix’s legacy, one must recognize and honor the invaluable roles these women played in his narrative.