February 21, 2022

Jimi Hendrix: handwritten lyrics for "51st Anniversary" reunited after 55 years

Original manuscripts of lyrics by Jimi Hendrix are extremly rare, but by change the two parts of a page that he tore out of his lyrics book to accomodate two young fans who wanted his autograph, shortly before his performance at the Bath Pavilion in England on the evening of 20 February 1967, have been reunited. From The Guardian:

Before the concert, two local girls, aged 15 and 16, made their way to the backstage door in search of an autograph.

Hendrix stepped out to meet them but had no blank paper. Instead, he tore out a page from an exercise book he had to hand, ripped it in half and signed both pieces. Fellow band members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding also added their signatures.

As the teenagers walked home after the gig they turned over the pieces of paper to find handwritten lyrics headed “51st Wedding Anniversary” with the side heading “Key of B”.

Just three weeks later, 51st Anniversary was released as the B-side to Hendrix’s second top-10 UK chart hit Purple Haze (HCTF note - the US version of the Purple Haze had The Wind Cries Mary as the B-side).

Fast forward to 2021, when one of the women got in touch with rock’n’roll memorabilia store Tracks Ltd to find out for how much so could it. She was no longer in touch with the woman who had the other half, but they managed to find her and lo and behold: she had hold on to it. Prospective buyers should not balk at the five-figure sum to get their hand on both halves.

The Jimi Hendrix The Ultimate Lyric Book has printed the lyrics, but there is no reproduction of the words in Jimi's own hand. Todays homework: find out if the Bath lyrics are the same as the ones that were used for the recording, a few weeks prior to the Bath concert, and if so, discuss.

» jimihendrix.com

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