Hendrix At 70: “I’d Never Seen Anything Like It In My Life” – Jon Anderson Of Yes

Tuesday (November 27) marks 70 years since the birth of Jimi Hendrix, the man who changed electric guitar and rock and roll forever. Some of his most iconic performances were on huge stages, including Woodstock and Monterey.  And while he was a master at captivating enormous crowds on festival stages, his early club shows have become the stuff of legend.  

Singer Jon Anderson was a few months away from forming Yes when he caught a Hendrix performance at a club in Munich, Germany.  He recently told CBS Local about that night: “I saw him playing with The Experience at a small club in Munich, about 250 people. He’d just released (his debut single) ‘Hey Joe,’ the album (his debut, 1967’s Are You Experienced?) was coming out that month.  It was remarkable, the energy that was coming off stage, I’d never seen anyting like it in my life, and I’d seen a lot of people by then.” 

That experience would have been good enough, but Anderson says that he actually hung out with Hendrix later that evening. “I was fortunate enough to meet him afterwards, he came to the house I was staying  at.  There was a party, and I was sitting quietly in the corner.  I was shy at that time in my life.  I was looking for a band, I wasn’t quite sure what I should do,  I’d left the band that I had been in for five years, The Warriors. He sat next to me and rolled a joint and we smoked it together. I told him about my dreams, and he just smiled. I met him in a London a couple of times (after), he was a great person.”  

As for Hendrix’s influence on Anderson?   He puts it succinctly:  “It was enormous.”  Years later, Anderson and Yes paid tribute by covering “Purple Haze” in concert (on their 1994 Talk tour). 

Anderson, who is no longer a member of Yes, released his most recent single over the summer: “Brasilian Music Sound” is a tribute to the 2014 Olympics, and is available as a download. He’s also working on his next solo album, as well as a collaboration with fellow ex-Yes members Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin. 

Brian Ives, CBS Local

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