Roger Daltrey Recalls Being With Jimi Hendrix The Weekend Before He Died
Roger Daltrey revealed that he spent time with Jimi Hendrix only days before his September 18th, 1970 death at age 27. At the time, Hendrix — a labelmate of Daltrey’s — and his girlfriend Devon Wilson were staying with the Who frontman and his fiancee Heather Taylor at their home in the English countryside. Taylor and Hendrix had previously been involved with each other, with the guitarist writing “Foxey Lady” about her.
During a chat to BBC Radio and transcribed by American Songwriter, Daltrey spoke about the visit in September 1970: “No one knows about it but myself and about three other people that are still alive. This is the weekend before he died. I was on tour in Germany, and Jimi and his friend, Devon Wilson, came to my cottage in Berkshire. At my house was my wife-to-be Heather and another girl called Katherine.”
Daltrey went on to recall, “He and Devon were doing this thing, which gospel singers do, and they were doing it with a call and answer — and they were doing it with Bob Dylan lyrics. So he quotes one line and she’d quote the other. . . but it gradually slowed down, slowed down until Devon finally fell asleep.”
He recalled Heather telling him it was “obvious that Jimi was taking more and more barbiturates and his speech became slurred. Then he passed out, and then now they’re starting to get worried.” Daltrey remembered him, Heather, and Katherine putting Hendrix to bed and “took his boots off at around 2 a.m.”
Daltrey then explained the heavily sedated rock legend popped up from a drug induced stupor: “They put the kettle on for a cup of tea and blow me if 10 minutes later he doesn’t appear in the doorway with his boots back on, his hat on all skew-whiff and says, ‘Right I’m ready for the interview.’ I mean, you can’t make it up.”
By 11 a.m. the next morning, Hendrix and his guest were on their way back to London via cab: “That was that weekend and as I say, he was as right as rain in the morning like nothing had happened.”
Both the Who and Jimi Hendrix were signed in Britain to Track Records — which was owned by the Who’s managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Pete Townshend‘s overriding memory of 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival was that once again, the Who were to be pitted against the Jimi Hendrix Experience — an act that they had performed with numerous times in England over the preceding six months: “When we went to play Monterey, y’know, (Jimi) Hendrix was doing the show at the same time. And we’d already been exposed to, what I felt, was very, very unfair competition with Hendrix in the UK, ’cause of our relationship. He was on our record label. And at that particular time, a group of London managers were trying to create a, kind of, cartel — so every time we played he was on the bill with us. Y’know, it was just awful, y’know, trying to match to this really great, great genius.”