Why Jimi Hendrix Wasn’t Signed by the Rolling Stones’ Manager
With the exception of Led Zeppelin, every great band in history has possibly been passed over by record makers (including The Beatles). Jimi Hendrix was a perfect example of this. In reality, the same Decca executive who turned down the Fab Four turned down Hendrix after he launched his act in London.
Hendrix, who was 23 when he arrived in the United Kingdom in late 1966, was no stranger to rejection. Before forming his own band, “Jimmy James and the Blue Flames,” he had played guitar for Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, and Curtis Knight, among others.
In the summer of 1966, Hendrix was already attracting attention with his Blue Flames. Linda Keith, the girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, saw Hendrix perform in Greenwich Village at the time. She then pleaded with the Stones’ boss to look into Hendrix.
The manager of the Rolling Stones, Andrew Loog Oldham, was not happy with Jimi Hendrix.
When Jimi Hendrix saw The Beatles change and become a “Part of the Establishment,” he became enraged.
Hendrix was not yet a force of nature in the summer of 1966. Though he’d started playing “Hey Joe” and other songs that would later become popular with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimmy James’ appearance in the Village with his Blue Flames was still a work in progress.
When Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham decided to check out Hendrix’s act, Linda Keith knew this and did her best to prepare him. For the concert, Keith had let Hendrix borrow a Fender Stratocaster guitar that belonged to Richards. But Hendrix didn’t make an impression on Oldham.
By that point, Hendrix had cultivated quite a bag of tricks (including playing with his teeth), and he unleashed several with Oldham in the audience. “Andrew was absolutely turned off and didn’t want any part of [Hendrix],” Keith recalled in Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight. “He thought Hendrix was a… This story is a short summary. Hope you enjoyed.