From “Jimi Hendrix in London, 1966”:

At the time, Eric Clapton was considered England’s foremost guitar slinger – to the point where people had scrawled “Clapton Is God” on London buildings and subway walls. Now he was making the scene with Cream. Just one week after he’d landed at Heathrow, Hendrix went to see Cream. In Clapton: The Autobiography, Eric described what happened: “On October 1, we were booked to play at the Central London Polytechnic on Regent Street. I was hanging around backstage with Jack [Bruce], when Chas Chandler, the bass player with the Animals, appeared, accompanied by a young black American guy whom he introduced as Jimi Hendrix. He informed us that Jimi was a brilliant guitarist, and he wanted to sit in with us for a couple of numbers. I thought he looked cool and that he probably knew what he was doing. We got to talking about music, and he liked the same bluesmen I liked, so I was all for it. Jack was cool about it, too, though I seem to remember Ginger [Baker] was a little bit hostile.

“The song Jimi wanted to play was by Howlin’ Wolf, entitled ‘Killing Floor.’ I thought it was incredible that he would know how to play this, as it was a tough one to get right. Of course Jimi played it exactly like it ought to be played, and he totally blew me away. When jamming with another band for the first time, most musicians will try to hold back, but Jimi just went for it. He played the guitar with his teeth, behind his head, lying on the floor, doing the splits, the whole business. It was amazing, and it was musically great, too, not just pyrotechnics. Even though I had already seen Buddy Guy and knew a lot of black players could do this kind of stuff, it’s still pretty amazing when you’re standing right next to it. The audience was completely gobsmacked by what they saw and heard, too. They loved it, and I loved it, too, but I remember thinking that here was a force to be reckoned with. It scared me, because he was clearly going to be a huge star, and just as we were finding our own speed, here was the real thing.” “It must have been difficult for Eric to handle,” Jack Bruce later commented, “because people were writing Clapton was ‘God,’ and this unknown person comes along and burns.”



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