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The reason Jimi Hendrix was forced to cut off Brian Jones during a recording session


Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones are two of rock music’s most heartbreaking tales. Both men lost their life at just 27, and they respectively played an integral role in defining the fabric of 1960s culture. However, things didn’t go exactly to plan when they worked together.

When Hendrix made his move across the Atlantic to London, Jones was one of the first significant names to champion the capital’s hot, new import. The Rolling Stone was in attendance for the first-ever performance by the American on British soil, and he witnessed the tectonic plates of the British music scene shift within that now-infamous set.

The show took place at the Scotch of St. James in London, and a sense of intrigue soon spread around the capital about the mysterious new figure who was due to take to the stage.

Terry Reid was one of those there, and he told Far Out that the guestlist included Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, and Jones. Following the performance, the priceless reaction of the late Stones guitarist has vividly remained with Reid. He recalled: “Then Brian Jones comes running over to me, he said, ‘Oh Terry, it’s terrible down the front. You should come down and have a look'”.

Adding: “I said, ‘What’s the matter?’, and he said, ‘There’s a flood at the front of the stage. It’s absolutely terrible’. I say, ‘A flood?’, and he said, ‘Yeah, all the guitar players are crying'”. 

Their paths would cross again in New York in 1968 when Hendrix was working on his earthshattering reimagination of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ when he received a surprise visit in the studio.

Saddeningly, the Jones who showed up to Electric Lady Studios was so intoxicated he could not assist with the recording and instead became an unwanted burden on the session.

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His presence was an unnecessary distraction as Hendrix had been working on his cover version for months and still couldn’t get it right. He needed to focus, and having a drunken Jones stumbling around was far from ideal.

“Brian Jones stumbled into Electric Lady Studios,” engineer Eddie Kramer later recalled. “Out of his mind, and started to play piano on ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ Jimi looked at me. The look was, ‘Can we get him to stop?’ Jimi was so polite, never wanted to hurt anybody. But he was in the middle of a session and Brian wasn’t doing well.

“So I said, ‘Brian, come into the control room and listen to what we’ve done,'” he added. “He staggered into the control room and fell, right in front of the console. Then he fell asleep. And we finished the track.”

Things then somehow got even worse, “All of a sudden you hear this horrendous, horrible piano playing,” Kramer continued. “This clang clang, all out of time, wrong chords and everything. It’s Brian Jones, he’d fallen into the studio, drunk out of his brain. He was another mate, and Jimi loved his friends, you know”.

This incident is a haunting reflection of the place in his life Jones had begun to inhabit during the latter stages of his life. Additionally, although the guitarist is credited for his “vibraslap” on the intro, his contribution to the classic track could have been so much more. However, he’d crestfallenly lost that desire which once made him great and morphed into a shadow of his former self.

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