Everyone is familiar with the historic image of Jimi Hendrix conjuring flames from his guitar at the Monterey International Pop Festival.
And everyone has seen dramatic footage and photos of Pete Townshend smashing his guitar—and most people think Pete conceived this climactic antic.
But the first rock concert where a guitar was purposely destroyed on stage may have been Jimi’s performance at the Saville Theatre in London on June 4, 1967—two weeks before Monterey on June 18.
Fab Two in the House
Two members of the Beatles were in the audience. Knowing this, the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened their headlining show with the title track of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, which had been released just three days earlier.
History was definitely in the making and it’s easy to imagine the energy level in London that week was about as intense as when the biggest stars in the universe collide.
The laws of physics demand something breaks apart when that much energy exists in a single spot. The collision of cosmic and musical forces in that theater on that fateful night exploded into a significant chapter in the annals of musical history.
Jimi’s Fender™ Stratocaster™, hand-painted by him before the show to honor both the Beatles’s three-day-old recording masterpiece and his love for his instrument, became the splintered victim of the inevitable explosion.
Tribute to a Splintered Victim
As Hendrix honored the Beatles, so too do we honor him with the release of the Officially Licensed Jimi Hendrix Mini Fender™ Strat™ Saville Guitar Model.
My Darling Guitar,… Please Rest in Peace
Like Abraham of old, to prove his devotion and obtain pure enlightenment, Hendrix was willing to slaughter and surrender that which was closest to him. The departing message he painted on the back of the guitar is a touching poetic farewell to his true love, which he was about to sacrifice to a greater force.
Stars Collide at the Saville
Apparently the Beatles in the audience took notice of Jimi’s sacrificial effort to reach enlightenment, because they journeyed to India just eight months later to meet with the Maharishi. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
Hendrix sought an elevated and previously-unpopulated plateau from which to express his relationship with music. He loudly and clearly demonstrated to a generation of artists a path to obtain the pure joy of personal and artistic expression beyond earthly constraints.
The Fab Four traveled a somewhat different highway to a higher consciousness, but their pursuit of enlightenment very well may have begun that night when the stars collided at the Saville.
AXE HEAVEN pursues enlightenment by handcrafting the best mini guitars in the universe. To reach your own higher consciousness…
Jimi Hendrix: “Watch your ears. Watch out for your ears.”
The video below of Jimi and his bandmates (drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding) performing Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is not from the Saville Theatre performance. It’s from a show six months later and Jimi is playing a reverse headstock cream Strat™, but it is definitely worth watching and hearing to “Experience” the type of higher-plane performance the Fab Four were trying to obtain.