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Jimi Hendrix's advice to improve The Who's live shows


Jimi Hendrix and The Who are both iconic musical acts in the world of the classics, and if you’ve ever seen The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, you might be surprised to learn about Hendrix’s involvement with a certain performance—The Who’s, in fact.

‘A Quick One (While He’s Away)’ is one of the many highlights of the show, but apparently, Jimi Hendrix didn’t agree when he first encountered the performance. He even said so in an interview with Los Angeles Free Press in August of 1967, recounting some advice he gave the wild and wonderful group about their live shows.

While he admired the theatrical artistry that Pete Townshend put forth, a man with whom he endured many battles over the years, he also maintained that he had some advice to dish out regarding the staging. “Can you imagine taking Othello and putting it on in your own way? You’d write up some real groovy songs, wouldn’t necessarily have to say the exact lines … Great!”

He continued by saying, “The Who is doing theatre pieces like ‘A Quick One (While He’s Away)’. But golly, man, they just stand there when they sing it. They should jump into it.” This is fair enough to say, as everyone has their own tastes in terms of performance style, and Hendrix clearly required a little bit more pizzaz.

Although there were some who considered this remark to be a pointed jab at The Who, considering that the two had been fierce competitors, it seems that this is yet another candid moment of one artist being honest with his peers about room for improvement in the name of furthering rock and roll creativity.

Regardless, The Who did heed his advice and jump a bit more into the performance by the time the concert show actually aired in 1968. By then, it seems that Hendrix didn’t pay all that much attention to what was going on with The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, as the artist made no further comments to follow up his initial words of advice.

Regardless, it is always interesting to hear about what artists have had to say about one another’s work throughout the years. If you want to take a listen to the song and hear the performance that Hendrix gave his words of wisdom to improve on, you can find it down below. Maybe you can be the judge as to whether the performance is lively enough for your liking, and if Hendrix would approve.