Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Moon Turn the Tides...Gently Gently Away

Hearing the news about the recent death of Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell when my mind was in an unguarded moment prompted a deluge of sadness and two immediate thoughts. First, all I ever seem to be doing these days is recording yet another Rock ‘n’ Roll death on this blog and second, is this the first time that a death has permanently consigned a major 1960s band to that great live date in the sky?

In answer to the first thought, it does seem as though time and tide has waited for no man and we are now well and truly into a period when deaths are apt to follow in rapid succession. With the rise of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, most of the early pioneers are now likely to be in their 70s or older. Discounting premature demises as a consequence of the inherent lifestyle it seems that that most unnatural of rock ‘n’ roll deaths, natural causes, is now upon us and will not be going away any time soon.

The second point is more poignant. With Hendrix himself gone since 1970 and Noel Redding eventually following a few years back it was only Mitch who held the baton for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But with his recent death, the band is gone and as far as I am aware this is the first time that every member from a major band (rather than individual artists, obviously) from that early period has passed away.

Despite deaths in the camps of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Who, The (Small) Faces, The Doors, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones (albeit, interestingly, only Brian Jones in 1969), there is at least one member of each outfit still flying the flag. Even more amazing, there are still bands out there that have all members still living like The Kinks and Fleetwood Mac. There is something rather comforting to know that all these old men and women of rock are still around even if they are no longer throwing TVs out of hotel windows (got to look after that bad back these days) but when the last of a band succumbs you know it is all over.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience is now consigned to the annals of that dusty subject, History, as surely as the Beatles and the Stones will be some day and future generations will only know them from books, memories and through their recorded legacy. Who ever thought my generation would be in the position, like our parents before us, of recommending long dead artists to our children and grand children?

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