Fans Didn’t Know Jimi Hendrix’s Covered ‘Sgt. Pepper’ And Now You Can Listen To It
via Jimi Hendrix / Youtube
The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix originated from different corners of the globe, yet their journeys significantly converged during the mid-to-late 1960s. Interestingly, Hendrix first achieved fame in the United Kingdom before making a breakthrough in the United States.
He arrived in England under the management of Chas Chandler, a member of The Animals. It was in the UK where he notably performed a memorable cover of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, even in the presence of some of the band members themselves.
Hendrix continued to include this song in his future shows, and it was notably a part of his memorable performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 21, 1970, just a few weeks prior to his passing.
This full Isle of Wight Festival show, titled Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight, has been available for more than two decades, and now another golden Hendrix rendition of “Sgt. Pepper” made its way to the market. Listen to the performance below:
Just another electric rendition from the guitar maestro
The fresh rendition of The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing The Beatles classic was made available last October 13, 2023, on all digital platforms by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
This previously unheard live cover was the opening track during The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s live concert on August 18, 1967, as featured on Hendrix’s latest archival album, Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967, which is set for release on November 10th.
“Here is the sound of the most exciting new group in the world, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, live in rock’s greatest year – and performing the opening theme song from The Beatles’ Summer of Love masterpiece,” guest host David Fricke introduced Jimi and his band as heard in the world premiere of the cover on the SiriusXM satellite radio show Breakfast With The Beatles.
Jimi Hendrix Experience’s cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was just a teaser for the posthumous live album, and it’s just as electric as their performance at the Isle of Wight. The full track list of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 is below:
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Killing Floor
- The Wind Cries Mary
- Foxey Lady
- Catfish Blues
- Like a Rolling Stone
- Purple Haze
- Wild Thing
A legendary performance at the 1967 Hollywood Bowl
In their pursuit of success in the United States, the Jimi Hendrix Experience went on a five-show series at the Fillmore in San Francisco. They also joined a US tour as the opening act for the Monkees, but this collaboration lasted only seven dates before Hendrix decided to part ways. Hendrix’s music and electrifying stage presence proved to be overwhelming for the young Monkees fans and even some of their parents.
In the aftermath of this misadventure, the band had to scramble to secure new performance dates, eventually landing the opportunity to play at the Hollywood Bowl on August 18.
Most of the audience had bought their tickets months in advance to witness The Mamas & The Papas, and they were largely unfamiliar with the radically different style of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Among the spectators, Brian Ray, who would later become a guitarist for Paul McCartney and Etta James, was captivated by what unfolded before him.
Recalling the event, the mesmerized Ray said, “Hendrix and his band, a trio with distinctive afros and flamboyant, theatrical attire, took the stage. Hendrix proceeded to deliver a breathtaking performance, which was loud yet musical. It soon became a physical spectacle as he played the guitar under his leg, behind his back, with his mouth, and even on his knees, making the guitar-playing experience a blend of beauty, grace, sensuality, violence, and gentleness all at once.”
Jimi and his band played the song live 37 times
Jimi Hendrix gained acclaim for his first rendition of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” at the Saville Theatre in London on May 29th, 1967, a mere three days after the track’s release on The Beatles’ album of the same name. It was the show where McCartney and Harrison were among the audience, witnessing Hendrix’s performance of the song.
Hendrix went on to include the Beatles classic in his concerts throughout 1967, including his memorable performance at the Isle of Wight Festival that year. The song made appearances in his 1968 shows, although it became increasingly rare in subsequent live albums.
In late 1968, the track was largely omitted from his repertoire and did not reappear in the remainder of Hendrix’s live performances. It’s worth noting that Hendrix also briefly incorporated covers of “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” into his performing career.
Altogether, The Jimi Hendrix Experience rocked “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” a whopping 37 times between 1967 and 1968, as documented by setlist.com. His final rendition of the song took place at the Rhode Island Auditorium on November 27, 1968.