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(Credit: Alamy)

Music

How Jimi Hendrix helped inspire an Amy Winehouse classic

@TylerGolsen

Jimi Hendrix had a winding road to success. Before he was commanding audiences and blowing minds with his innovative guitar moves, Hendrix was simply an ex-Army man hopping from band to band looking for a break. At one point, Hendrix even managed to hook up with Little Richard‘s backing band, but he only stuck around long enough to record one song, ‘I Don’t Know What You Got (But It’s Got Me)’.

Hendrix floated between acts, contributing guitar to records made by everyone from The Isley Brothers to Jayne Mansfield. Through hanging around the nascent soul circuit of the early 1960s, Hendrix came into contact with Bobby and Richard Poindexter, two R&B lifers who had written and performed songs under a number of different names.

Their current project was called The Icemen, and Hendrix was invited to play along to their latest song, ‘(My Girl) She’s a Fox’. That signature style of Hendrix’s, which can be heard on legendary tracks like ‘Little Wing’ and ‘Voodoo Chile’, is in its early stages here. But especially in the song’s intro, it’s possible to pick out Hendrix’s unique fretboard work. It almost sounds as if someone is copying Hendrix, but it’s actually Hendrix himself in a pre-fame session role.

But the song itself sounds familiar for a different reason: the vocal intro and melody were later reworked and interpolated by Amy Winehouse on her song ‘He Can Only Hold Her’. The songwriting credits for Back to Black acknowledge the Poindexter brothers and their contribution to the track, and the connection is unmistakable when the two tracks are pinned next to each other.

How Winehouse managed to hear ‘(My Girl) She’s a Fox’ is anyone’s guess. Even with the Hendrix connection, the track is obscure and only featured on some deep-cut soul compilations. There’s a decent chance that producer Mark Ronson had found the song while crate-digging, or perhaps Winehouse herself picked up the track from her collection and wrote the song shortly afterwards. In any case, ‘He Can Only Hold Her’ is at least partially indebted to the work of Jimi Hendrix.

Check out both songs down below.