THE LAST 24 HOURS - JIMI HENDRIX

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The Last 24 Hours With Jimi Hendrix What do you get if you take an ambidextrous African-American from Irish and Cherokee decent, and then teach this person how to play the banjo? No. You don't get George Formby, silly. You get that very bohemian chap seen in this great 60 minute documentary produced in 2004. Jimmy somebody.


Jimi Hendrix - Last 24 Hours


THE STORY:
In this narrator driven episode of 'The Last 24 Hours', Duncan Wells orates' the rise and the fall of the one and only musical man about town, Jimi Hendrix.

As expected, this feature is lavished with reconstructions, archival footage, stock photography, and pre-recorded one on one interviews with people who knew of Jimi's bi-polar lifestyle. This includes Hendrix's PR Man: Keith Altman. The Rolling Stones Co-Manager: Tony Calder. Two Authors: Steve Roby and Alex Constantine. The Director: Chuck Wein. The Actress: Melinda Merryweather. Plus the US Secret Service Commentator: Jim De Eugeino.

What now follows is a basic rundown of how this program plays out:

  • Who discovered Jimi Hendrix?   Chas Chandler from 'The Animals'. Who took Jimi under his musical wing, guided him, molded him, and then made him into the legend he is now known as today.
  • What was it about Jimi that made him stand out from the crowd?   Well, not only was he a very talented African American musician, but he was also very different and new too. Electrifying everyone he ever played to with his bold and crazy shenanigans.   
  • Did this last for very long?    Yeah. For about four or five years. Until Jimi's drug use and womanizing ways triggered his mind onto a more spiritual path. Prompting him to inadvertently associate himself with a number of people whom led to his eventful downfall.
  • Such as?
    • Now to start off with there was his second manager -- Mike Jeffery -- who was an unscrupulous and money grabbing character that took over from Chas when Jimi's studio work wasn't up to par.
    • Next there was his final lady-friend -- Monika Dannemann -- who was none too pleased with Jimi because of his philandering lifestyle.
    • And finally there was the mob plus a hidden political contingent -- most notably the FBI -- who both disliked the idea that Jimi allied himself with left-wing causes, including the Black Panther moment.
  • Oh, dear! Did it get anymore dire than that?   Yes. Yes it did. On occasion Jimi's drug intake hindered his performances. He was arrested for smuggling drugs from one state to another. He was on trial for two paternity cases at the very same time. A movie he starred in -- entitled 'Rainbow Bridge' -- bombed because everyone that was in it were stoned out of their faces. And he constantly had visions of seeing himself die.
  • Die! So what was Jimi's official cause of death then?  According to Monika's witness statement, he took a handful of barbiturates before he fell asleep, and chocked on his own vomit despite Ambulance men trying to resuscitate him afterwards.
  • Ah-ha! And are there any other theories?    Hell yes. The main one being that his manager, Mike, was a member of a joint political / mafia venture -- called the MH Chaos program -- and manufactured Jimi's death by arranging for parties unknown to force him to drink copious amounts of red wine until he eventually expired.
  • But why?   The main reason for this was because he was a black public figure who had ties to the Black Panther movement, and could cause a militant uprising through his wealth and his popularity.

On an end note: Within the following few years after Jimi's demise, Mike and a number of other people who were close him, all passed away under very strange circumstances indeed.




THE REVIEW:
Picture the scene. A fresh-faced me walking along the street with my Dad during my youth, heading towards an orchestra recital I was a part of. When suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I noticed my Dad stop and point at a house that was situated adjacent to where we were strolling. 'There it is son' he said to me. 'That was the house Jimi Hendrix's died in'. 'Really?' I exclaimed in turn. Quickly followed by a subsequent quizzical question of 'So who's Jimi Hendrix then, Dad?'.

Jimi Hendrix with a headband
Yeah. Seriously, folks! This really did happen. But don't you worry your pretty little heads off. Of course I now know who Jimi Hendrix is one hundred percent. Especially after a lifetime of hearing his amazing music; and watching what happened to him in this great episode of 'The Last 24 Hours'.

Granted, this documentary wasn't as great as the man himself. Agreed. Structurally it was a bit topsy-turvy to say the least. And on occasion the reconstructions were a mite cheesy in tone. Nonetheless, in spire of these minor snags, overall this documentary was a fairly fine documentary to watch. Having that 'who done it' slant about it that made it come across more like a 'gum shoe mystery' than a 'life and times of x, y, z'.


Jimi Hendrix Art


Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child
You know. Something like this for example. (1) James Marshall Hendrix was originally called Johnny Allen Hendrix, and he was born in Seattle, Washington, on the 27th of November, 1942, and died in Kennington, South London, on the 18th of September, 1970. (2) Jimi was inspired into becoming a musician after he saw Elvis Presley perform live on stage. He was only 14 years old at the time. (3) Before he made it big, Hendrix backed such musicians as: The Isley Brothers, Little Richard, the Blue Flame, Wilson Pickett, Chuck Jackson, Slim Harpo, Tommy Tucker, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and Curtis Knight. Furthermore, he was also the opening act for the Monkees 1967 American tour too. (4) Hendrix and Chas Chandler first got together because he was recommended to Chas by Keith Richards's then girlfriend, Linda. She told him that Jimi mesmerized her with his 'wild guitar riffs'. (5) I kid you not; Mick Jaggers younger brother, Chris, was the fashion designer who designed most of Jimi's clothes for him. (6) Jimi was ambidextrous, and could play the guitar with either hand. However, for reasons of his own, he chose to play a right handed Fender Stratocaster, upside-down, restrung for his left hand. (7) Jimi's first television appearance was on a Dutch documentary series called 'Hoepla', and it was initially broadcast sometime in 1967. (8) For the cover of his album, 'Electric Ladyland', Hendrix wanted Paul McCartney's wife to be -- the then photographer, Linda Eastman -- to take a picture of him with his band. But no. His request was denied. And two alternate covers were produced instead: One with a picture of a lot of naked ladies on it, and another depicting a fiery image of him singing. (9) Even though he's kicked the bucket, Jimi still has a website -- www.jimihendrix.com


Jimi Hendrix Black and White


OK. So before I bugger off to God knows where, please allow me to comment on the conspiracy theory 'The Last 24 Hours - Jimmi Hendrix' tried to convey.

Jimi Hendrix Mug Shot
Now if I'm going to be honest with you, folks, I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories myself. I find them to be a mite too far fetched at times, giving themselves that 'myopic view' defining A to equals B but only if you forget about C.

Hey! Don't get me wrong. I do love following this sort of thing whenever it comes into my view. Honestly I do. It's just that me being a big 'Jack the Ripper' buff, I know from my own experience that you can make any theory fit the crime if you really want it to. 

But as for this theory though, well, it does make a lot of sense if you look at the bigger picture. It has been proven in the past that Hoover and the FBI hated the idea of an African American uprising. Plus they did do a similar thing with Biggie and Tucac.

Also, if you factor in that whole scenario about Jimi's manager being the mastermind behind his demise -- yeah -- it kind of plays out right within the scheme of things. Yet as I said previously, anything can play out right if you're view is focused to one particular place and time.

Listen. I'm not saying its hooey. And I'm not saying it's correct either. I'm just saying that it was convincing and plausible if you look at it at face value. Don't you agree, guys?




Ha! That was fresh. Wasn't it? As fresh as a house situated in a street your Dad pointed to during your fresh faced youth. Nuff said.  

THE RATING: A-