The “Greatest Band” In Jimi Hendrix’s Book
Jimi Hendrix at the Dick Cavett Show - Youtube
In the whirlwind of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi Hendrix himself was not just a musical maestro but also an appreciator of great talent around him. While conversations often revolved around Hendrix’s groundbreaking music, there were moments when he openly discussed his inspirations and favorites.
Hendrix, known for his friendly demeanor and willingness to delve into musical discussions, had a diverse palette of influences.
Among the notable names, he crowned the Irish musician Rory Gallagher as the best guitarist in the world. When asked on The Mike Douglas Show about being the best rock guitarist, Hendrix humbly deflected the title, saying, “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Rory Gallagher.”
In the realm of bands, where Hendrix and his Experience bandmates Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding were concerned, a surprising name emerged as the “greatest they ever saw” – The Kinks, as revealed by Ray Davies in a 2023 interview with Mojo.
“He [Jimi Hendrix] Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] all said the greatest band they ever saw was The Kinks.”
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Ray Davies shared this revelation while reflecting on the period when The Kinks were banned from playing in the US between 1965 and 1969.
The ban, instead of stifling creativity, led Davies to delve deeper into English themes in his songwriting.
“Yes, because I was writing English songs right from the start. My heroes were Chet Atkins, Big Bill Broonzy… So I wanted to make my own blues, and I think I was heading in that direction anyway. But it was the American touring that pulled the plug on everything.”
Davies continued to explain how the American touring hiatus became a creative cocoon, prompting him to protect himself through songs with English themes.
“We were due to play Monterey, Woodstock, one of those big festivals, where everyone was emulating our style. The only person who gave us credit for what we did was Jimi Hendrix.”
In a landscape where peers speculated The Kinks were finished, Hendrix, Mitchell, and Redding saw them differently – as the greatest band.
For The Kinks, surviving and thriving meant making records, especially when touring the States was crucial for exposure on American TV shows.
In the words of Ray Davies and endorsed by the iconic Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks stand tall as a band that left an indelible mark, weathering challenges and earning admiration from those who understood the essence of their music.
Listen to The Kinks and delve into the sonic world that captivated even the “greatest” according to Jimi Hendrix himself.