Share this page!

On November 10, 2023, fans of Jimi Hendrix are in for an unprecedented treat. For the first time ever, Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., in collaboration with Legacy Recordings, a Sony Music Entertainment division, is unveiling a unique live concert titled Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967. Available on vinyl, CD, and digital platforms, this recording captures a significant moment: it was five days prior to the US launch of “Are You Experienced“, their groundbreaking debut album.

The Hollywood Bowl concert holds special significance. Before this event, the band, comprised of Jimi Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, and bassist Noel Redding, had established a massive presence in the UK and Europe. However, most of the 17,000 Los Angeles attendees, primarily there for headlining act The Mamas & The Papas, were unacquainted with Jimi Hendrix’s spellbinding talents. Yet, they were soon to witness a performance that would leave an indelible mark on rock history.

In 1966, after moving to London from Seattle, Jimi Hendrix created the Experience with the British duo of Mitchell and Redding. They quickly amassed popularity with multiple top 10 singles, earning accolades from rock legends like Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. However, their success in the UK didn’t immediately translate to the US. They faced challenges, with songs like “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze” not charting as expected. Attempting to penetrate the US market, they toured, even opening for The Monkees briefly, before a shift in direction brought them to the Hollywood Bowl.

YouTube player
From Monterey to Hollywood Bowl

A new mini-documentary, Monterey Pop To The Hollywood Bowl, chronicles Jimi Hendrix’s remarkable US journey during mid-1967. It highlights the impact of the Hollywood Bowl show, drawing insights from Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas and Paul McCartney’s guitarist, Brian Ray.

During the Bowl concert, Jimi Hendrix Experience masterfully played hits like “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” They also showcased their adaptability, covering iconic tracks from The Beatles, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan, and Muddy Waters. Brian Ray, among the audience, recounts the sheer astonishment of seeing Jimi Hendrix on stage, the electrifying presence that was so different from The Mamas & The Papas.

Yet, even as the audience tried to grapple with Jimi Hendrix’s magnetic performance, Michelle Phillips’ first exposure to the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Monterey Pop Festival was one of shock. Later, she would come to appreciate and adore Jimi Hendrix, praising his character in the liner notes for Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967.

This new release is not just a recording but a testament to Jimi Hendrix‘s meteoric rise. Meticulously prepared by the Experience Hendrix team and remastered by Bernie Grundman, the album also showcases rare photos from that historic night. As Michelle Phillips aptly puts it, within a short time, Jimi Hendrix became “the hottest thing happening.

Jimi Hendrix’s iconic Hollywood Bowl performance: A dive into musical roots and legacy

Close-up portrait of Jimi Hendrix at the Hollywood Bowl in San Francisco, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix, at the Hollywood Bowl, San Francisco, 1967.
Credit: Pinterest

Musical Influences of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s connection to the roots of blues ran deep, and his respect for the genre’s pioneers was palpable in his work. Muddy Waters, often dubbed the “Father of Modern Chicago Blues,” was another paramount influence on Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of Muddy’s “Mannish Boy” during studio sessions exemplifies his ability to infuse tracks with a psychedelic rock flair while retaining the soul of the original blues tune. The grit, pain, and rawness of Waters’ original sound resonated with Jimi Hendrix, who incorporated those emotions into his explosive guitar work and stage presence.

Another nod to blues greats was his electrifying cover of “Catfish Blues,” a traditional blues standard that artists like Robert Petway and Muddy Waters made popular. In Jimi Hendrix’s hands, the song underwent a metamorphosis. He injected it with feedback-laden sounds, whammy-bar dives, and wah-wah effects, pushing the boundaries of what blues could sound like in the rock era.

B.B. King’s influence can’t be overlooked either. His string-bending techniques and expressive guitar solos surely left an impression on young Jimi Hendrix. While Jimi Hendrix never directly covered a King track, the essence of B.B.’s Lucille-driven licks can be heard echoing throughout many of Jimi Hendrix’s bluesier numbers.

At the Hollywood Bowl and throughout his career, Jimi Hendrix wore his influences on his sleeve, showcasing not just his prowess as a guitarist but also his deep reverence for the blues legends who paved the way. He was a bridge between the raw, emotive power of ’50s blues and the psychedelic rock revolution of the ’60s, demonstrating that the past and the future can coexist harmoniously in music.

Historical Context

1967, known as the “Summer of Love,” was a pivotal year in global cultural history. The world was not only listening to music; it was living through it. As thousands converged on San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district with flowers in their hair, seeking an alternative lifestyle centered on peace, love, and understanding, the airwaves were saturated with revolutionary sounds.

The Beatles released their landmark album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which was lauded not just for its musical genius but for its avant-garde embrace of Eastern philosophy and psychedelic experimentation. Elsewhere, The Doors made a splash with their self-titled debut, introducing a dark, poetic undercurrent to the era’s soundscape. At the same time, festivals like Monterey Pop on the West Coast showcased the breadth and depth of the evolving musical scene, from soulful performances by Otis Redding to Janis Joplin’s raw, emotional vocals with Big Brother and the Holding Company.

In the midst of this transformative period, Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Hollywood Bowl stood as a beacon. While he was already creating waves in Europe, the U.S. was still coming to grips with his explosive style. This concert, nestled between major album releases and iconic festivals, solidified his place in the American musical panorama. The raw energy he brought to the stage, combined with his unique interpretation of the psychedelic experience, made that performance a key marker in a year already rich with seminal moments. In essence, as 1967 unfolded, Jimi Hendrix’s Hollywood Bowl event anchored a moment in time when music was not just a soundtrack but the driving force of cultural evolution.

Jimi Hendrix and The Mamas & The Papas relationship

Jimi Hendrix with Michelle and Cass of The Mamas & The Papas backstage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1967, sharing a candid moment together.
Jimi Hendrix alongside Michelle and Cass of The Mamas & The Papas, behind the scenes at the Hollywood Bowl, 1967.
Credit: Invaluable

In the culturally transformative era of the 1960s, music not only echoed the sentiments of change but often led the charge. The landscape was rich with experimentation, both musically and socially. Into this vibrant scene, two distinct sounds and personalities emerged: the electrifying Jimi Hendrix and the harmonious Mamas & The Papas.

While both acts were groundbreaking in their own rights, their paths and styles couldn’t have been more different. The Mamas & The Papas, with their California dreamin’ vibes, offered four-part harmony that took listeners on a soulful journey. Their hits like “California Dreamin'” and “Monday, Monday” were soothing anthems of the era. Their success was solidified, and they were widely recognized as one of the leading groups of the time.

In contrast, Jimi Hendrix, the Seattle-born guitar maestro, was relatively unknown in the United States despite having already taken Europe by storm. His approach to music was unlike anything seen or heard before. With his innovative guitar techniques and raw energy, he transformed rock and roll.

The concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 18, 1967, serves as a fascinating study in these contrasts. The majority of the audience, having bought their tickets in advance, were likely anticipating the melodic harmonies of The Mamas & The Papas. What they got, however, was a double-bill of the familiar and the shockingly new. Opening the evening was The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a trio that was set to revolutionize rock.

Brian Ray, a member of the audience, captured the mood perfectly: “The audience was there to see The Mamas & The Papas. They hadn’t heard of Jimi Hendrix.” Jimi Hendrix’s performance, complete with his famed guitar antics, was a jolt to the senses. The sheer dynamism of his stage presence, set against the backdrop of a venue anticipating a more traditional act, was a watershed moment in rock history.

Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas recounted her own shock upon first seeing Jimi Hendrix perform at the Monterey Pop Festival earlier that year. But by the time they shared the stage at the Hollywood Bowl, her view had transformed. While initially taken aback by Jimi Hendrix’s aggressive style and stage antics, she later warmed to his personality and artistry.

In hindsight, this concert can be viewed as a symbolic passing of the torch. While The Mamas & The Papas were nearing the end of their journey as a group, Jimi Hendrix was on the ascent. Less than a year later, he would return to the same venue, this time as the headliner.

It’s a testament to the ever-evolving nature of music and culture. The night of August 18th at the Hollywood Bowl encapsulated the spirit of the ’60s — a mix of the harmonious and the revolutionary, existing side by side.

Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 tracklist:

Side One
1) Introduction
2) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
3) Killing Floor
4) The Wind Cries Mary
5) Foxey Lady
6) Catfish Blues

Side Two
7) Fire
8) Like a Rolling Stone
9) Purple Haze
10) Wild Thing

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar, Lead Vocals

Mitch Mitchell: Drums

Noel Redding: Bass, Backing Vocals

Produced By Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, & John McDermott for Experience Hendrix, L.L.C.

YouTube player
“Killing Floor (Live at The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA – August 18, 1967) by Jimi Hendrix

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments