5. Jimi Hendrix gave a legendary performance on New Years in 1970

Jimi Hendrix
Photo by A. Vente from Wikimedia Commons.

On New Years Day in 1970, Jimi Hendrix gave perhaps one of the most famous performances at the venue. But the story behind how he got the gig is perhaps just as wild as the concert itself. Hendrix had signed a deal with Ed Chalpin of studio PPX around 1965 when he first started to gain international acclaim. After becoming the leader of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he was signed to a different contract with Track Records. Because of this, Chalpin sued him for a share of his profits. Hendrix thus gave over his next album to PPX for distribution in order to make amends. It was this conflict that ended up getting him this show, which some consider among his career highlights.

Hendrix chose to form a completely new group with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums, mainly because he did not want to give PPX distribution rights of Electric Ladyland. His new band played two nights at Fillmore East, December 31st, 1969, and January 1st, 1970. His album Band of Gypsys was recorded live on the January 1st show, while Live at the Fillmore East drew from both performances. Hendrix’s performance of “Machine Gun” is often recognized as one of his musical highlights, although the concerts could not compare to Woodstock a year earlier.