When musicians die, their fans want to keep their memories alive. It’s not unusual that posthumous albums are released, even decades after the musician’s passing.
It’s a never-ending story of posthumous releases, but it keeps rejoicing fans: The latest Jimi Hendrix record contains 13 studio recordings made between 1968 and 1970 – 10 of which have never before been released.
The iconic guitarist released only three studio albums and a live LP before his death in 1970. But that’s nothing compared to his posthumous collection. New live recordings, bootlegs, unpublished tracks and recorded sessions appear in stores almost every year, and 2018 is no exception. The compilation “Both Sides of the Sky” contains 13 songs, 10 of which were previously unreleased.
It looks like Jimi Hendrix’s musical heritage is an inexhaustible source of material. Since his death in September 1970, a total of 25 live albums, 27 compilations, 23 official bootlegs, 12 studio albums and several singles, EPs and collaborations have been released – and those numbers are bound to keep growing.
It however wasn’t easy to get the material published. Jimi Hendrix, who died aged 27, did not leave a will. It was difficult to determine who owns the rights to the estate. Jimi Hendrix’s legacy fell victim to numerous lawsuits and family quarrels. Meanwhile, a part of the family has established a company dealing with the legendary guitarist’s legacy.
The songs on “Both Sides of the Sky” come from the period after Hendrix’s final album, “Electric Ladyland”, which came out in 1968. It was a productive era, even though most songs the American guitarist composed at the time were left unfinished.
A guitar was more than just an instrument to Jimi Hendrix – it was also a playground and a sex object. Left-handed, Hendrix had his right-handed guitars restrung with the bass string on top. It changed everything, becoming the basis of his signature sound. Playing with his teeth or tongue was just one of the many ways he expressed his unique style.
The first batch of the abandoned material surfaced in 2010 on “Valleys of Neptune”, which topped charts in 15 countries. The second title of the series, “People, Hell and Angels” from 2013, even surpassed its predecessor in sales and placed second on the Billboard 200 charts, making it the second most successful Hendrix album after “Electric Ladyland”, and the 2013 album’s first single, “Somewhere”, became the most successful Hendrix single to date.
The final volume of the trilogy was produced by Eddie Kramer, John McDermott and co-produced by Janie Hendrix, the late musician’s step-sister, who were also responsible for the preceding two posthumous records. Their objective was to provide to the fans the musician’s recordings in the best possible quality.
Fehmarn was Jimi Hendrix’s last big live concert. On September 17, 1970, he performed with Eric Burdon & War in a club in London. In his hotel room later that night, he couldn’t sleep. He resorted to a fatal mix: a bottle of wine and a lot of sleeping pills. Jimi Hendrix choked on his own vomit and died of asphyxia. He was laid to rest in his home town of Seattle on October 1, 1970.
This article first appeared at http://www.dw.com