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Jimi Hendrix Experience ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Out Now From Hollywood Bowl 1967


Track Illuminates Fascinating Backstory and mutual admiration Between the Two Bands

Today, the lead off song on Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 has been made available on all digital platforms by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. This cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which had its world premiere yesterday on the SiriusXM satellite radio show Breakfast With The Beatles, comes in advance of the full album, which will be released November 10 on vinyl, CD and digital formats.

“Here is the sound of the most exciting new group in the world, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, live in rock’s greatest year – and performing the opening theme song from The Beatles’ Summer of Love masterpiece,” guest host of Breakfast With The Beatles and former Rolling Stone editor David Fricke declared yesterday. “It is a pleasure and honor to play it, for the first time anywhere, on the Beatles Channel.” Normally hosted by Chris Carter, the terrestrial version of Breakfast With The Beatles (on KLOS in Los Angeles) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

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Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967

Beyond their status as inter-generational icons, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Beatles are inextricably linked. Having retired as a touring act in 1966, The Beatles concentrated on their studio output, releasing the ambitious Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the middle of 1967. Mere days after the record hit store shelves, Paul McCartney and George Harrison witnessed the Jimi Hendrix Experience covering the title track at the Saville Theatre in London on June 4. Hendrix played the song for the group backstage on a portable record player and the opened the show with their own dramatic interpretation.  Already a champion of Hendrix, McCartney had urged Monterey International Pop Festival co-producer John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas to put the Experience on the bill, which took place just a few weeks after the Saville gig.  Hendrix’s dramatic Monterey performance made an indelible mark on the Mama’s & Papa’s.  The Mamas & The Papas extended an invitation to the Experience to open for them at the Hollywood Bowl on August 18, where they began their set appropriately with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

This live concert performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, captured just five days before the US release of Are You Experienced, their album debut, is notable for being one of the last times the band performed in front of an audience as relative unknowns. Having already conquered the band’s UK base as well as Continental Europe over the previous ten months, the vast majority of the 17,000 plus Los Angeles concert goers were there to see headliners The Mamas & The Papas and were caught off guard by Jimi Hendrix’s electrifying musicality and showmanship. Finally, the set can be enjoyed by the rest of the world for the first time ever; amazingly, not a single second of this unique, two-track live recording has ever been released before in any capacity, either via official channels or elsewise.

After the Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix moved to London in September of 1966, the Experience was formed with a British rhythm section consisting of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding. The new band promptly enjoyed commercial success in the form of three top 10 singles and a string of performances that overwhelmed audiences and won praise from the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and the aforementioned Paul McCartney. Word of these achievements reached Reprise Records chief Mo Ostin and a US deal for Hendrix was confirmed in March 1967. After making their US debut in Monterey, the immediate prosperity the band enjoyed in the UK was not replicated stateside. Their first two US singles were flops – “Hey Joe” didn’t chart at all, “Purple Haze” only reached #65 – and Are You Experienced wouldn’t be released domestically until late August. In their attempt to crack America, the Experience did a five-show stint at the Fillmore in San Francisco followed by a US tour opening for the Monkees that only lasted seven dates before Hendrix dropped off.  Hendrix’s music and dynamic stage presentation proved too much for young Monkees fans and many of their parents.   In a scramble to book dates after this debacle, they scored the August 18 Hollywood Bowl date.

In addition to their re-imagining of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the Jimi Hendrix Experience blazed through originals such as “Purple Haze,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” and yet-to-be-released classics “Foxey Lady” and “Fire,” as well as their own re-imagining of favorites by Howlin’ Wolf (“Killing Floor”), Bob Dylan (“Like a Rolling Stone”), The Troggs (“Wild Thing”) and Muddy Waters (“Catfish Blues”). The majority of the crowd had purchased tickets months in advance to see The Mamas & The Papas and were wholly unfamiliar with the jarringly different Jimi Hendrix Experience. Brian Ray, future guitarist for Paul McCartney and Etta James, was among the audience members transfixed by what they witnessed. “The audience was there to see The Mamas & The Papas,” recalls Ray. “They haven’t heard of Jimi Hendrix.  I’d never heard of Jimi Hendrix, and he couldn’t be more opposite of The Mamas & The Papas as an act, culturally, physically, in every possible way he was the opposite. Here comes this guy and there’s only three of them on stage and they have these afros and these wild, ornate, very theatrical clothes. Jimi proceeds to shred, and it’s loud but it’s musical, and then it becomes so physical. He starts playing the guitar under his leg, and now it’s behind his back, and now he’s playing it with his mouth, and now he’s on the ground on his knees and he’s like humping it, and it, to me was mind blowing. It was sort of every human characteristic; it was beauty, grace, it was sexual, violent, gentle, it was just everything all at once in one band coming out of this one guy.  I wouldn’t say that the audience response was quite the same as the response I was having. My sister and I were going bananas, and the audience was like [soft clapping] and they were trying to figure it out.”

However bewildered the audience may have been, their brief tenure opening for the Monkees had hardened the group, and they leaned into their repertoire with ferocity.

Michelle Phillips, the only surviving member of The Mamas & The Papas, first saw the Experience perform at the Monterey Pop Festival. “We had never heard of him,” Phillips remembers. “I had absolutely no idea what to expect. And when I saw him perform I was mortified. I had never seen anything like this, I’d never seen anybody treat their instruments like this. He was pouring lighter fluid over his guitar and then setting it on fire and – I really was shocked. I had no experience with this kind of rock and roll theatre. And that was the first time I had ever seen it.” Backstage at the Hollywood Bowl weeks later, Phillips was won over by Jimi Hendrix. “I absolutely loved him,” recalls Phillips in the liner notes for Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967, penned by Jeff Slate. “He was a gentleman, he was lovely, he was funny.” She softened her view of “rock and roll theatre,” which was somewhat antithetical to the more stayed and pitch-perfect folk tradition from which her group emerged. This very concert wound up being The Mamas & The Papas’ last, while the Experience’s star was rising; they would return to the Bowl the following year as headliners. Phillips remembers, “In a couple of days or months, Jimi Hendrix was the hottest thing happening.”

The Experience Hendrix team of Janie Hendrix, John McDermott and Eddie Kramer prepared this special album for its release. Kramer, Hendrix’s long standing recording engineer, recently restored the audio, and three-time Grammy Award winner Bernie Grundman served as mastering engineer. Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 will be availableon CD as well as audiophile grade, individually numbered (US pressings only), 150 gram vinyl, complete with many previously unseen photos by Ed Caraeff, Henry Diltz and Allen Daviau from that night. These include performance shots as well as candid backstage images of band members with The Mamas & The Papas, and manager Chas Chandler.

Originally we were supposed to have been in America for three weeks,” remembered Experience bassist Noel Redding.  “We ended up staying three months that summer and that made us in America.”

Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 tracklist:

Side One

  1. Introduction
  2. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  3. Killing Floor
  4. The Wind Cries Mary
  5. Foxey Lady
  6. Catfish Blues

Side Two

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar, Lead Vocals

Mitch Mitchel: Drums

Noel Redding: Bass, Backing Vocals

Produced By Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, & John McDermott for Experience Hendrix, L.L.C.


Founded by James ‘Al’ Hendrix, Jimi’s father, in 1995, Experience Hendrix, has been managed since its inception by the family members handpicked by Al during his tenure as Chairman. It is the official family company charged with managing the music, name, image and likeness of Jimi Hendrix. As a part of their daily operations, Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix oversee Jimi’s timeless legacy on a worldwide basis.

About Legacy Recordings:

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is home to the world’s foremost library of historically significant commercial recordings, a peerless collection of works by the most important musical artists of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Across a variety of platforms, the label offers contemporary music fans access to thousands of meticulously restored archival titles representing virtually every musical genre.