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Jimi Hendrix: The Intimate Story of a Betrayed Musical Legend

Jimi Hendrix: The Intimate Story of a Betrayed Musical Legend

4.6 9
by Sharon Lawrence

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The genius we never understood. . . . The man we never knew. . . . The truth we never heard. . . . The music we never forgot. . . . A revealing portrait of a legend by a close and trusted friend.


The genius we never understood. . . . The man we never knew. . . . The truth we never heard. . . . The music we never forgot. . . . A revealing portrait of a legend by a close and trusted friend.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Ishimoto Morris
Lawrence's insightful rendering of Jimi Hendrix the human being is the first written by someone whom Hendrix apparently trusted with his deepest thoughts and feelings -- about his music, family and career. Her Hendrix laughs, worries, shouts, cries, smokes, shares cherished photographs, talks about problems with his family, irons a shirt, flings furniture.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Former UPI reporter and Hendrix confidante Lawrence (So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star) recalls the guitar player's brilliance in this sympathetic biography. She skims over his early years-his abandonment by his mother, his high school rock bands, his brief time as a paratrooper-but slows down once Hendrix gets to playing his guitar in earnest. After knocking around as a session player and winding up in New York, Hendrix signed with former Animals bassist Chas Chandler and went to England in 1965, where he blew away the likes of the Beatles, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. He triumphantly returned to the U.S. for 1967's famous Monterey Pop festival, where he became an overnight superstar. But bound by bad deals he signed without counsel, under an intense media glare, exhausted by the road, busted for possession and trapped in a downward spiral of drugs, lawsuits and paranoia, Hendrix burned out. The year before his death, Lawrence writes, she watched Hendrix become a "Shakespearean protagonist... while a growing brood of greedy villains circled like vultures." On September 18, 1970, Hendrix overdosed on pills, which Lawrence believes was a deliberate act to "confront fate." While much has been written about Hendrix's meteoric career over the years, Lawrence's close ties to the musician and her well-written narrative make this book a welcome addition to the Hendrix canon. Agent, Martha Kaplan. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A veteran journalist and friend of the late Jimi Hendrix, Lawrence offers a sympathetic memoir of the musician that unlike past biographies doesn't dwell on Hendrix's creative marvel or lament his early demise. Instead, Lawrence focuses on Hendrix's troubled childhood and the rock star excesses, which included drugged-out hangers-on, social parasites, and preying businessmen. The book starts slowly, yet Lawrence's firsthand experiences with Hendrix (as well as Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton) provide an insider's view of the late 1960s and early 1970s rock landscape. Best of all are the memories of Hendrix the numerology nut (he was a nine), serving as a witness in his much-publicized Canadian drug trial, and recalling his admission that he had "never been in love," all of which reveal the human side of a musical messiah. Thus, Lawrence's presence when Hendrix died reads less like the passing of a god than the sad loss of a friend. Recommended for any library with standard Hendrix biographies like David Henderson's 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix.-Robert Morast, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt

Jimi Hendrix
The Man, the Magic, the Truth

Chapter One


She loved a good time. There were few of them in her short and wretched life.

Lucille Jeter shook off the gloomy blanket of wartime anxieties that troubled all the adults around her, and despite her family's admonitions, she ignored the tedious drip ... drip ... drip of the Seattle evening rain to go out and dance every chance she got.

The sweet-natured and naïve "baby" of the Jeter family, Lucille hadabrotherandthreeoldersisters. Theirparents, Prestonand Clarice, were typical of many of the black residents of Seattle in the 1940s, men and women who had migrated west, seeking a better life but frequently disappointed. Born in Virginia, Preston Jeter possessed educationbut few opportunities. He worked,atvarioustimes,as a miner and as a longshoreman. His wife, Clarice, a native of Arkansas, brought in much-needed income toiling as cleaning lady and housekeeper. Welfare checks sometimes entered the picture. Mrs. Jeter's Pentecostal religion was both her rock and her social life; she worried and prayed about Lucille and her always fragile health. Lucille was inclined to overdo.

The sight of the pretty, tiny, pale-skinned black girl kicking up her heels and the sound of her giddy laughter as she was tossed into theaircaptivatedAlHendrix.Itseemedthatshewouldneverget enoughofthebrightlightsandspiritedjitterbugrhythms.Lucille loved her music!

Theexhilaratingnightsonthedancefloordidn'tlastlong. Weeks after the couple's first meeting, Lucille became pregnant and hurriedly married twenty-two-year-old Al, an attractive if not handsome bantamroosterofaman,standingbarelyfivefoottwo.She told her mother that she liked the way Al smiled at her.

Her young husband was an American citizen raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, who had settled in Seattle several years before to try his luck as a lightweight boxer in the city 's Golden Gloves competition. Al 's father, Ross Hendrix, was an Ohio native who grew up to becomeaChicagopolicemanandeventually,makinganexotic switch, took a job as stagehand for a vaudeville troupe. He married one of the dancers in the company, Nora Moore, the daughter of a full-bloodedCherokeemotherandanIrishfather.NoraandRoss Hendrix decided to give up the traveling life and make a new start in Vancouver. In quick succession Nora gave birth to two sons, a daughter,and finally to James Allen Hendrix, generally known as Al.

Since his education had ceased in the seventh grade and he was unprepared for any skilled work, Al turned to the love of dancing he 'd inherited from his mother to making a few bucks here and there in dance contests. His specialties were tap dancing, jitterbugging, and soloimprovisations.AlthoughAllater wastorefertohimselfasa member of an important show business family, Mama Nora worked longhoursinthekitchenofaVancouverrestaurantaftersheleft vaudeville; as a teenager Al was a waiter there.

WhenhemarriedLucille,Alhadperhapsonlythreethingsin common with his sixteen-year-old wife: They both were the youngest children intheirrespectivefamilies, they each lovedto dance, and theyhadachildontheway.Withindaysaftertheirmarriageon March 31, 1942, Al kissed Lucille good-bye. Drafted into the army, he was sent more than fifteen hundred miles away to Oklahoma, and then on to Georgia.

Lucille was barely seventeen when she gave birth to her first son, Johnny, on November 27, 1942. The birth took place at the home of Dorothy Harding, a good friend to Lucille 's sister Dolores. Relatives and friends joked about how strange it was that these two short peoplehad conceived such a graceful, long-limbed baby.

Raising a baby was no joke, and Lucille was unprepared to handle the transition from dropout schoolgirl to mother. Through an army snafu, she was not receiving any of Al's military pay. Not long after Johnny was born, Preston Jeter died of a heart condition. As a result, Clarice was plagued by financial problems. She loved Lucille's baby, butshecouldn'ttakecareofhimandalsoworkfivedaysaweek. ClariceandherdaughterDoloresweredeeplyconcernedabout Johnny'swelfareashewasshuttledaroundacircleofrelatives, friends, and even completestrangersin homes in and near Seattle. Week to week Johnny never was quite sure who was "in charge" -- a phrase that stayed with him. He slept on pillows, in baskets, and in otherpeople'sbeds;arealbabycribwasaluxuryJohnnyseldom knew.LucillefloatedinandoutofJohnny 'slife,the"Mama"he adored -- eveniftheyounggirlcouldn'tsupporthimor manageto take care of him for more than a few days at a time ...

Jimi Hendrix
The Man, the Magic, the Truth
. Copyright © by Sharon Lawrence. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sharon Lawrence started her career as a reporter for the United Press International's Los Angeles bureau. Her specialty was the entertainment beat, including film and pop music. After more than five years with UPI, she became a management, marketing, and PR consultant for such clients as MCA, Columbia, Apple, and Rocket Record Company, as well as for major movie studios. She has worked with numerous artists including Elton John, David Bowie, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lawrence is the author of So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star and Old Carmel in Rare Photographs. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Jimi Hendrix: The Intimate Story of a Betrayed Musical Legend 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone wanting to learn about the true Jimi this is the book for you, so sad and tragic, he truly lived the life of a bluesman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big Hendrix fan, and my friend got me this book for the past christmas. I began reading it and i couldn't put it down! It is incredibly touching to read all of the painful, heart-crushing moments he went through, as a child and adult. This book was written by Sharon Lawrence, a close and dear friend of Jimi. He told her of these moments, and she seemed to be one of the few people that he felt he could trust, and who didn't want to cheat him out of money. As a child, young Jimmy (he changed his name to Jimi later on), he had a young mother of 17, and his father was 22. After his father went to the army, his mother had an affair, and wanted a divorce. Jimi and his two younger brothers were in custody of their father, but stayed with so many relatives day to day, he was often confused about who was 'in charge'. He and his brothers were physically, verbally, and mentally abused, malnurished, and dressed in rags. When Jimi and guitar married, it was his revelation. Nothing else could have saved him, created an escape such as this. He pursued the life of a musician. Even after he made it big, his life was still a twisting, tortuous one filled wth financial, relationship, and numerous other stresses. Peopl ejust wanted to cheat him and take advantage of his shy and polite personality. He was also framed for posession of heroin, causing an arrest in Canada, where he was released by bail. Lawrence's vivid portrayal of his life, public and personal, is an amazing and touching work for me. I recommend this bookj for anyone who cares to listen to this musical genius' struggling and against-all-odds times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
of Jimi because of this book. I can't get enough of him after this reading. I am utterly disgusted by the actions of the Hendrix 'family', and felt betrayed by the family with their actions and lying over the next years after his death left me destroyed for a figure I had come to truly love through this book by Ms. Lawerence. This is an excellent starter to my study, anyones study really, of this legendary man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a shame that such a genuine, caring, and talented musician was and continues to be taken advantage of by so many. Thanks for sharing his truth in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful tribute to a musical genius who lost himself in his craft...would he had lived longer to bless us more...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writer does a great job of making the biography personal, while still covering Hendrix's whole life, as well as all the way till the present. Compulsive reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the end of concerts, Jimi would preform "sacrifices" where he would drench his guitar in cigarette lighter fluid and light it on fire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago