The Hendrix Flat Opens

“Well I never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
Songwriter: Hoyt Axton Song Lyrics: Never Been To Spain

We long to visit London, England one day. Tourist attractions associated with The Beatles and the British Invasion are high on our list. A destination to include on the itinerary would be the flat Jimi Hendrix and his then girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham rented at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair.

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Photo: Alamy

 

The Handel House Trust unveiled the Hendrix Flat this past week on February 10th.  It allows fans to witness the rooms where the greatest rock instrumentalist in history conducted his famous jam sessions and, most excitingly, to view highlights from his varied music collection.

What I find fascinating is that the Hendrix Flat was right next door to the Handel house where the classic composer George Frideric Handel lived for 36 years. The synergy of music purveyors Handel and Hendrix in the same building is total kharma.

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Credit: Handel House Trust

The restored flat comes complete with Hendrix’s old Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar, which he used to devise his epic cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’.

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Credit: Michael Bowles/Handel & Hendrix in London

Hendrix’s Vinyl Collection

Examining the timeframe when Jimi Hendrix resided with Kathy Etchingham in 1968 it was in-between the albums, Axis Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland. 

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The Vinyl Factor wrote an article about the vinyl records that Jimi Hendrix listened to while he was living at the flat, EXPLORE JIMI HENDRIX’S RECORD COLLECTION IN LONDON. Jimi Hendrix’s personal record collection included records from sitar guru Ravi Shankar and French music concrète pioneer Pierre Henry, psychedelic outfit Red Crayola and a copy of Handel’s Messiah performed by the English Chamber Orchestra.

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For Jimi Hendrix, 23 Brook Street was the doorstep to the London music scene of the late 60s. His flat was a short stroll from legendary venues like the Marquee, the Speakeasy and The Scotch of St James and he would spend many evenings wandering from club to club looking for a chance to play.

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Photography: Barrie Wentzell

Oh Happy Day! Spotify and The Echo Nest Become One

Spotify made a friendly, strategic acquisition of their long time music intelligence metabase partner, The Echo Nest. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to see these two music platform technology companies working more harmoniously to further their common music vision.

The collective intelligence of The EchoNest combined with the discovery of Spotify looms significant for music listeners, record companies, and artists. TechCrunch sees this partnership as creating a “Facebook Connect for Music”. This will be accomplished with The Echo Nest API remaining in place and continuing to serve the need of developers and music companies who use it such as XBox Music, rdio, MOG (BeatsMusic) to name just a few.

Spotify seeks to be the music identity provider across the web and mobile the way Facebook has become a social identity provider.

Spotify and The Echo Nest have a long, mutually beneficial history together. Back in March 2012, the two integrated their APIs so that any Spotify app developer could tap into The Echo Nest’s music intelligence technology. In March 2013, Microsoft, Spotify, and The Echo Nest joined forces to create Mixshape, a visual tool that automatically sorts playlists based on the properties and moods of individual songs.

What excites me the most about this closer development synergy is how Spotify will evolve and ratchet up another layer or two. Music hacking thrives with increased dimensionality now that Spotify and The Echo Nest are one entity.

Jim Lucchese says The Echo Nest and Spotify both have “music hacker cultures. We move quickly. Our goal is to start pushing things that will have a real impact on the [Spotify] user experience as soon as possible. I think probably in the next three months you’ll start seeing things in Spotify based on what we did here today that will have a big impact on music fans.”

Improvements to Spotify’s radio algorithm, discovery suggestions, and more could come even sooner, Daniel Ek says. “I expect to see things that touch consumers really, really fast. You’ll start noticing improvements pretty much instantly.”

I expect further analysis and commentary as the industry processes this announcement. Man do I love this deal and what it will bring us all.

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Why Pink Floyd? The Wall

Cover of "The Wall"
Cover of The Wall

Why Pink Floyd? week culminates with my thoughts and observations about The Wall.

The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s Why Pink Floyd? Week ends tonight in spectacular fashion with Pearl Jam doing “Mother” from The Wall.

I find The Wall to be the creative apex of Pink Floyd’s collective musical genius. It also happens to be the split in the nuclei for Pink Floyd. The Wall is very much Roger Water’s baby, as it is his story.

The stress and strain on the band members during The Wall’s recording sessions are well documented. I won’t take the time here to get into the dynamics that took place. When The Wall collapses into rubble and the dust clears we witness a very different Pink Floyd standing in our midst.

I have always felt it was unfortunate that Richard Wright was forced to resign from the group by Roger Waters. I love his signature keyboard sound. He created a rich fullness with his textures of layered sound. In my estimation he took the Hammond B3 organ to amazing new heights. Of all the members of Pink Floyd I witnessed at The Dark Side of the Moon concert in 1973, Richard Wright organ playing etched himself the firmest in the my memories.

Much has been written and analyzed about The Wall. Certainly The Wall has taken on a life of it’s own over time. I am constantly intrigued by the dimensional variations The Wall has given us over the decades since it went on stream in 1979.

First as a limited series of live concerts in 1980 that created a major stir because a cardboard wall was constructed in front of the band, walling them in and then, being torn down at the end.

Next The Wall was turned into a film directed by Alan Parker and was released in 1982. The Wall broke new barriers with multimedia, as recorded film footage with actors was interspersed with wild animations from Gerald Scarfe (which we first saw on the double album cover art and as part of the live show). I a liken Scarfe’s graphic art to Ralph Steadman’s manic art.

The Wall was later performed and filmed in Berlin as a celebration for the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Roger Waters engaged producer Tony Hollingsworth to create The Wall – Live in Berlin, at a location once occupied by part of the Berlin Wall. It featured such guest stars as Rick DankoLevon Helm and Garth Hudson of The BandThe HootersVan Morrison,Sinéad O’ConnorCyndi LauperMarianne FaithfullScorpionsJoni MitchellPaul CarrackThomas Dolby and Bryan Adams, along with actors Albert FinneyJerry Hall,Tim Curry and Ute Lemper. This concert features my favorite collaborative edition of “Comfortably Numb” sung with a fierce passion by Van Morrison.

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Roger Waters has been touring steadily with The Wall Live since 2010 . He brings The Wall Live to North America Stadiums (including Yankee Stadium) in the second quarter of 2012.

Roger Waters: The Wall Live

An effort was made to produce and bring The Wall to Broadway. The closest that came to realization was a two week off-Broadway production in Boston, Massachusetts in 1996.

The Why Pink Floyd? Immersion Box Set will become available on February 28, 2012. This will complete the Why Pink Floyd? product distribution campaign.

The Wall - Immersion Box Set