[Slowhand] revisiting the who's the best myth..
apuraja8 at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 30 08:27:13 EST 2006
While I agree with the spirit of what DN says - the Hendrix PR machine after
his death has been about selling the man's name, music and anything he did
to make a buck, the simple reality is that Eric was the one Jimi sought out
upon his arrival to the UK. So does that make Eric better simply on that
front - no.
Yes Bloomfield and others revered the Bluesbreakers album that Clapton was
on, and yes he created a star guitar out of the Gibson Les Paul and created
a new sound with the Marshall/Gibson setup - but that does that make Eric
better - no.
Eric is a better guitarist if you personally like him more than whoever
else. I'm sure we could go and find quotes and relay similar informaiton of
all the artists who felt Hendrix was better or could cite how Clapton was
shaking the moment that Hendrix got on stage to play.. But that shoulnd't
change anything either.
Subjectivity is subjecitivity, even in polls that Clapton might have one,
it's all opinion.
Enjoy the guitarists you like and the rest shouldn't matter - it's all
>>When I point out that he's often hailed as the second most gifted
>>guitarist of all time, after Jimi Hendrix, he [BB King] shakes his head
This is sheer poppycock. At the time of his death, Hendrix was considered an
excellent guitarist, but not in the same league as BB King or Clapton, and
some others. Mike Bloomfield, for example, played with Hendrix in New York
BEFORE he ever met Clapton. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band toured the UK in
October-November 1966, and Bloomfield, their lead guitarist, eagerly sought
Clapton and eventually linked up with him. On his return to the US,
Bloomfield simply raved about Clapton, and never mentioned Hendrix,
pronouncing Clapton the best of all. I certainly enjoyed seeing Hendrix, in
1968. But to tell the truth, I'd enjoyed seeing Bloomfield play a bunch
more. Mike didn't waste his time doing "sound effects" or paying tribute to
space aliens, he simply played damn great guitar. So did Clapton and a few
others. And yes, I'm aware that Bloomfield claimed that he couldn't play as
well as Hendrix. But I think he played better guitar, and more styles of
On one of his trips to the UK, Freddie King stayed with John Mayall. Mayall
played recordings of both Clapton and Hendrix, and King much preferred
Amazing what a great PR machine -- and the myths created by that PR machine
after Jimi's death -- can do. This is revisionism, pure and simple. Hendrix
was a great, and a total performer. But if you were looking for the guitar
player among the two, while Hendrix lived, Clapton won the awards and
Hendrix didn't, and Clapton was MUCH more in demand as a player on others'
records. Everyone wanted Clapton to play on their records, not Jimi Hendrix.
In fact, I believe that Mike Bloomfield was in demand more than Hendrix as
There are several myths in the history of "rock." Here are two more.
1. There was a riot at the Blind Faith concert, 12 July 1969, at Madison
Square Garden, NY. I was there, and it never happened. When I read about it
in "Rolling Stone" a couple of weeks later, I remember becoming angry,
because it simply was NOT true.
2. Bob Dylan was booed off stage when he went electric at the Newport Folk
Festival, in July 1965. I've heard the recordings: it simply didn't happen.
There was NO booing. Furthermore, Al Kooper, who was Dylan's organist at the
performance, wrote the same in his biography, "Backstage Passes &
There's no question that Jimi Hendrix was a great performer, songwriter, and
guitarist. But the idea that Hendrix-was-the-greatest-guitarist-ever is pure
myth born long after Jimi's death by the Experience Hendrix PR machine and
some fans. But don't simply take my word for it. Check to see who won the
best guitarist polls in the late '60s and 1970, while Hendrix was alive, and
you'll see Clapton's name at the top of the list more than anyone else's.
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