Was Jimi Hendrix Murdered?

July 29, 2013

Hendrix, Jimi

The “high” of the 1960’s landed with a big, hard crash. The assassinations of the Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Malcom X and the Black Panthers signaled that the forces of the far right were staging a counter-revolution. Against civil rights, womens rights, environmentalism and organized labor.
The Altamont Speedway concert was wrecked by The Hells Angels, resulting in beatings and Murder.
And the rock world also lost Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.

Rock stars lead a hard and fast life, and it’s not suprising that some fall to alcohol and drug abuse. But there were some different circumstances surrounding the death of the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

In a 2009 book “Rock Roadie”, James “Tappy” Wright claimed that Hendrix was murdered. From “The Telegraph UK”:

“Although the exact circumstances of Hendrix’s death have always been a mystery, James “Tappy” Wright, one of the rock star’s roadies, claims Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffery, confessed to killing him.
He claims Jeffery made a drunken confession a year after the star’s death in September 1970.
Wright claims Jeffery was worried that Hendrix was preparing to find a new manager when their deal was due to end so he went to his hotel room and stuffed him full of pills and wine.”
*
“In it, Wright claims Jeffery, who was married to actress Gillian French, made the confession at his apartment in 1971, two years before he died in a plane crash.
He writes: “I can still hear that conversation, see the man I’d known for so much of my life, his face pale, hand clutching at his glass in sudden rage.”
He says Jeffery told him: “I had to do it, Tappy. You understand, don’t you? I had to do it. You know damn well what I’m talking about.”
He quotes Jeffery as saying: “I was in London the night of Jimi’s death and together with some old friends …we went round to Monika’s hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth …then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe.
“I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I’d lose everything.”
Wright also claims Jeffery told him he had taken out a life insurance policy on Hendrix worth £1.2million, with Jeffery as beneficiary.”
—————-

This version of Hendrix’s death is heavily disputed:

“Jimi Hendrix was not murdered,” says Bob Levine, who was the US manager of the late guitarist at the time of his death in 1970. “Despite the allegations that have recently been made, I need to set the record straight once and for all. Jimi died an accidental death, but he definitely wasn’t murdered – not by Michael Jeffrey, his UK manager, and certainly not by anybody connected to him. The whole thing is one giant lie.”
*
“Regarding Wright’s claim that Jeffrey murdered his star client, Levine says it was all cooked up to sell books. “I used to talk to Tappy every day,” says Levine. “I’ve known him since the early ’60s. He told me he was putting together a book about his years in the rock world. That’s fine – everybody has a right to do a book if they can. But he told me, ‘Bob, I need a hook for the book. I need a handle.’ He needed something that would be a grabber. Well, saying that Jimi was murdered is a grabber; saying that Jimi was murdered by his manager is an even bigger grabber. But it’s certainly not the truth.”
————————–

So here we have a “he said – He said” argument between two of Jimi’s associates, with some of the individuals long dead.
But, and not suprisingly, when the writings and reflections of other friends and band members are cross-referenced, there appears to be an element of truth that sparked the rumors of possible murder.

This review from “Blogcritics” provides the best sumation:

(excerpts)
“Before becoming Jimi Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffery had been a covert operator for British Intelligence. According to one of his original clients, Eric Burdon of the Animals, Jeffery often boasted of his 007 escapades during the cold war – staging assassinations in Greece, torturing KGB agents, blowing up Russian/Egyptian bases in the Suez.

The Animals’ singer, Jimi’s future close friend, took these stories as drunken tall tales until, early one morning, the former MI6 agent invited him out to the London harbor where the U.S. Seventh Fleet happened to be trolling for some lost nukes. His manager emerged from the water in scuba gear, holding a black box. Grinning, pointing out to the armada, the ex-spy pulled a switch: suddenly the harbor was rocked with underwater explosions.

“Like most people of felonious intent,” Burdon wrote in his memoir, “he was charming, attractive, and sometimes a riot to be around.”

Jeffery had made the transition from demolition and espionage to rock and roll by studying under “The Al Capone of Pop” himself, Don Arden. Also known as “The English Godfather” and “Mr. Big,” Arden, Sharon Osbourne’s father, went on to manage the Small Faces, Electric Light Orchestra, and Black Sabbath. Known for his old-fashioned business methods – bribery, blackmail, assault, kidnapping – the diminutive Jewish businessman and his muscle had dangled rivals from windows, rearranged their kneecaps, and extinguished cigars in their faces. Jeffery proved his own mettle against his mentor when he stole the Animals away from him without losing life or limb.”
*
“Burdon wrote. “His main enforcer was The Turk, a nasty bastard whose tools of choice were an ax and two highly trained German shepherds.” The singer went on to describe how Jeffery burnt down his Club Marimba for the insurance money, then how he absconded with the Animals’ money.”

(editor note: According to the Michael Jeffery Wikipedia page the club actually did burn down)
Continuing:

“In his own memoir, bassist Noel Redding described Jeffery’s fondness for guns, throwing knives, electronic bugging devices, and roadie spies. As for his financial skills, to discourage frivolous audits, the ex-spy kept all his business records in Russian.”
*
“At last, burnt out on touring, Jimi told his manager he was disbanding the Experience. No sooner did he reveal his intention than he was busted for heroin possession in Toronto. He came to suspect that Jeffery, desperate that he might lose his cash cow, had engineered the bust so he, Jimi, would be forced to keep the Experience alive to foot his legal expenses.
Four months later, just after Woodstock, Hendrix was kidnapped at gunpoint, held hostage for several days, then “rescued” in a dramatic shoot-out at his Woodstock compound. Soon he came to suspect that his manager was behind this intimidation too.
Still refusing to surrender to Jeffery and revive his golden goose, the Experience, Jimi formed the Band of Gypsies. At their premiere Madison Square Garden gig in January of 1970, Jimi collapsed on stage after only a few songs. Buddy Miles insisted he’d seen Jeffery slip him two tabs of bad acid. “He didn’t want Jimi playing in an all black band,” the Gypsys’ drummer declared. “One of the biggest reasons why Jimi is dead is because of that guy.”
*
“By this time, terrified of Jeffery, the star was in secret negotiations with Miles Davis’s manager, Alan Douglas. Hearing through one of his informants in Jimi’s entourage of the possible defection, Jeffery confronted Douglas accusing him of “trying to steal my artist.”
*
“On the morning of September 17, Douglas phoned Hendrix’s New York lawyers, informing them that he would be relieving Jeffery of his management duties. Meaning, not only was Jeffery losing his cash cow, his nemesis Douglas would, in taking over the books, discover his embezzlement and mismanagement over the years. Meaning the end of Jeffery’s career, if not imprisonment.”
*
“Dr. John Bannister, the physician on duty at St Mary Abbot’s hospital when the ambulance arrived, later testified: “Jimi Hendrix had been dead for some time…Red wine was coming out of his nose and out of his mouth. It was horrific.” He described how he tried to clear Hendrix’s windpipe with an 18-inch metal sucker but finally gave up due to the inexhaustible volume of liquid.
“Someone apparently poured red wine down Jimi’s throat to intentionally cause asphyxiation after first causing barbiturate intoxication,” Dr. Bannister concluded. “Without the ability to cough he was easily drowned.”
*
“Almost no alcohol was found in Hendrix’s blood. Moreover, friends stated that he didn’t drink red wine.”

(Editor note: Witnesses stated that the body of Jimi Hendrix was saturated with red wine – in his hair, clothes – everywhere)

Again, from the Jeffery Michael Wikipedia page:

“At the time of Hendrix’s death, the coroner recorded an “open verdict,” stating that the cause was “barbiturate intoxication and inhalation of vomit”. The pathologist who did an autopsy on Hendrix, Prof. Teare, failed to detect any wine; he reported an alcohol level so low it would have failed the drink-drive test in 1970.[7][8] However, this could be because the wine that may have been forced down Hendrix’s throat might not have got into his bloodsteam before he died. Years later, in 1990, John Bannister, who was a doctor facing being struck off (never to be reinstated despite several attempts), and who had attempted to resuscitate Hendrix at the hospital in 1970, said he was convinced the star had drowned in red wine. Bannister spoke in an article, in 1992 (two years, after being struck off): “I recall vividly the very large amounts of red wine that oozed from his stomach and his lungs and in my opinion there was no question that Jimi Hendrix had drowned, if not at home then on the way to the hospital.” This is still considered controversial.”
——————————————————

That’s a lot of circumstantial evidence, but it has the ring of truth.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to Was Jimi Hendrix Murdered?

  1. Buster on August 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve been researching this since I learned about it with Tappy Wright’s book in 2009. If you are still asking ‘if’ Jimi was murdered you haven’t done your homework. You very simply can’t have the numerous bottles of wine inside you Dr Bannister witnessed and only have a 5mg/100ml blood alcohol content innocently.

    There’s two scandals associated with Jimi’s death. The first is his murder. The second is how all his friends betrayed him and didn’t come forward with what they really knew. Well, there’s a third scandal now that I think of it. The British government seeing all this evidence and ignoring it…

  2. StudioJoe on June 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I remember where I was Sept. 17, 1970, as if it were yesterday. Like all official lies/coverups, the first news splash is what sticks in the public’s mind (he popped some sleeping pills, vomited while unconscious and suffocated — case closed).

    Much later, when all the facts come out, nondisclosure agreements have been unsealed, only then does the truth begin to come out. This is usually after all the principle actors and conspirators are long dead and can’t be prosecuted. I believe this totally to be the case with Hendrix’s death. Had it occurred in the age of the internet, there’s no way this crime could have been silenced for so long.

    Aside from that, the testimony of paramedics & attending doctors — medical professionals, not businessmen — is far more damaging and conclusive. The copious amount of wine together with the low blood alcohol level is consistently with large quantities having been forced down and immediately regurgitated. Also, the responding paramedics, after the expiration of their confidentiality clauses, said Hendrix was not undressed under the covers as if he’d been asleep, but laid out fully clothed on top of the covers. Staged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + 3 =