When Jimi Hendrix asked Paul McCartney to join a supergroup with Miles Davis
Take the ingrained genius of one of jazz’s finest ever acts, Miles Davis. Add to that already mercurial concoction the psychedelic virtuoso guitar genius that is Jimi Hendrix and finish it with the crystalline pop sensibilities of The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, and you have an otherworldly supergroup, the kind that could have taken over the world. It’s the exact supergroup Hendrix tried to persuade McCartney to be a part of back in 1969.
A telegram was once sent between Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney where the guitar player, who was an avid follower of Beatlemania which swarmed the earth and a keen fan beyond all else, tried to convince the bassist to be in a supergroup with him, Tony Williams and the great Miles Davis. It’s a matchup we would have been thrilled to see but sadly never came to fruition.
Hendrix and Davis had already been working together in New York with plans to record an album, a seamless collaboration considering that Davis was in his iconic Bitches Brew psychedelic phase. Now just to get that pesky Beatle signed on the dotted line.
McCartney, one half of the most iconic songwriting partnership of all time, would have brought the much needed chart-topping musical nous to the band and offered them up a clear pathway to worldwide success. To top it off Macca had been a massive advocate of Hendrix in the US when the guitarist was finding it difficult to break.
When Hendrix arrived on the scene in London, he blew everybody away and really did change rock and roll almost overnight with his swirling style and unprecedented moves. His psychedelic musings may have even influenced McCartney during his masterpiece Sgt. Pepper. Under the influence of The Beatles, Hendrix would get his shot at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, a performance that launched his career. It’s fair to say that Hendrix was influenced by The Beatles too.
In fact, the guitarist may have been the first artist ever to play one of the tracks from the album, “I remember him opening at the Saville on a Sunday night, 4 June 1967,” Paul later shared. “Brian Epstein used to rent it when it was usually dark on Sunday. Jimi opened, the curtains flew back, and he came walking forward, playing ‘Sgt. Pepper’, and it had only been released on Thursday, so that was like the ultimate compliment.”
Back to 1969, Davis and Hendrix, in our mind giggling like teens asking a girl on a date, sent an impromptu telegram to The Beatles man with the hope they might convince him to join their new supergroup. It read, “We are recording an LP together this weekend. How about coming in to play bass stop call Alan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.”
Unfortunately, the recording would never take place as Rolling Stone reports: “It’s unclear if McCartney was aware of the request…. Beatles aide Peter Brown responded the next day, telling Hendrix and Davis that McCartney was out on vacation and wasn’t expected back for two weeks.”
We’re afraid for those wanting to get a good look at the piece of rock history needs to meet two specifications.
Firstly, if you don’t mind a heavily-pixelated image you can find the blown-up telegram below. Or, secondly, jump on a plane to the Czech Republic and see it in real life at the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague. Now, we know which one we’d prefer to be doing.
But for now, think what could’ve been with Jimi Hendrix’s cover of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ below.