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When Jimi Hendrix covered The Beatles song 'Day Tripper'

@josephtaysom

The Beatles have been covered more times than any group on the planet. For every exceptional take on one of their material, it’s outweighed by about a dozen of woeful attempts. However, one artist that never misses in this area was Jimi Hendrix, as his cover of ‘Day Tripper’ proves.

It’s a track that was most famously covered by Otis Redding, who, in fairness, created an electrifying version of ‘Day Tripper’, and Hendrix’s attempt at The Beatles classic is equally pulsating. Whether it’s better than Redding’s version is one that the jury will have to decide on, but for now, the focus is on celebrating Hendrix’s wild take on the song.

Hendrix aired his cover of ‘Day Tripper’ during a session for the BBC, and it wasn’t the only time that he expressed his love for the Liverpool band. Most notably, Hendrix showed off his appreciation for them during an unforgettable headline show at the Saville Theatre in London.

That night, in the West End of London, proved to be one of the most memorable of his stay in the English capital. A crowd that included Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix witnessed him blow the roof off the building with a rendition of the title track from Sgt. Pepper. For some context, the track had only been released a matter of days before.

Hendrix clearly left an impression on McCartney, who later said: “Jimi was a sweetie, a very nice guy. I remember him opening at the Saville on a Sunday night, 4th June 1967. Brian Epstein used to rent it when it was usually dark on the Sunday. Jimi opened, the curtains flew back and he came walking forward, playing ‘Sgt. Pepper’, and it had only been released on the Thursday so that was like the ultimate compliment.”

Adding: “It’s still obviously a shining memory for me, because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you’d put it in, but he just opened with it.

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“It’s a pretty major compliment in anyone’s book,” recalled Macca, “I put that down as one of the great honours of my career. I mean, I’m sure he wouldn’t have thought of it as an honour, I’m sure he thought it was the other way round, but to me, that was like a great boost.” 

The fact that night at the Saville remains “one of the greatest honours” of Paul McCartney’s career is a testament to the magic which he inhabited within his fingers. There are few artists that the bassist hasn’t heard take on one of his songs, yet, seemingly, Hendrix’s effort matters more than almost every other.

It’s undeniable that Hendrix had a rare gift that allowed him to turn his hand to almost anything, and it would forge enchanting alchemy. Yet, something even more remarkable took place when he took on The Beatles’ acid-anthem, ‘Day Tripper’, which was on a topic he was rather familiar with.