Wild Thing

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474611480

Price: £20

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Almost 50 years after his lonely death, Hendrix is the abiding symbol of musical genius cut tragically short. Wild Thing will be the first biography to bring together the splendour and sadness of his brief life, and to attempt to unravel the circumstances of his death.

Hendrix revolutionised classic rock, inventing a whole new vocabulary for the guitar. Onstage he pushed the boundaries of Sixties permissiveness, fellating the strings of the guitar with his tongue, lying it flat and straddling it, even setting fire to it. Yet in private he was polite, shy and sweet-natured. Norman will explore these contradictions in a narrative that takes us from Hendrix’s roots in Seattle to his louche and glamorous life in Mayfair, when London was the world’s most ‘swinging’ capital and then back to the US with the series of historic outdoor rock festivals that rounded out the decade.

Wild Thing will be a celebration of matchless artistry, and a gripping chronicle of those now mythical times. But it will also investigate the peculiar conditions of his death, part whodunnit as it tells the most cautionary of rock ‘n’ roll parables. After all these years of rumour and speculation, Jimi’s ghost may finally be laid to rest.

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Norman's access to Hendrix's younger brother Leon brings a greater clarity to the facts of their wretched upbringing. Hendrix was haunted throughout his life by his bullying, overbearing father Al, alcoholic mother Lucille, and their doomed, loveless union. Likewise, Norman puts Jim Crow America during the early 1960s into sharp focus through the prism of Hendrix's slogging on the Chitlin' Circuit, as back-up guitarist to other black powerhouses such as Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Little Richard and Curtis Mayfield... Wild Thing confirms what we already know of Hendrix: he was a true one-off, star-bright shining, and ultimately someone for whom it was all too much, too soon.
An engaging memorial to a rock revolutionary whose music, in contrast to many of his revered Sixties peers, retains much of its explosively thrilling voodoo power
Stephen Dalton, THE TIMES
Hendrix's short life is outlined in detail and with insight by Norman...From being rock music critic of The Times during the 1970s to writing acclaimed biographies (deemed by many to be definitive) of Elton John, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Eric Clapton, Norman has the historical perspective and authentic writing nous to dig deep and achieve results
It's 50 years since Jimi Hendrix died and, as Norman puts it, became "president for eternity" of the infamous 27 Club. The guitar legend's excess all areas life story is familiar but new details emerge. Jimi's brother fills in the blanks on his wretched childhood in the US, and the racism of the UK, his adopted home, is sadly laid bare. The mystery over whether his death was accidental or murder is no clearer but Norman has one big revelation: Jimi loved watching Corrie
WHEN McCartney, Jagger and other grandees first saw Hendrix, 'Everyone was dumbstruck, completely in shock, as if hit by a 50-megaton H-bomb'. This book is a first-rate analysis of Hendrix's 'fretboard wizardry and showmanship' - but nothing became the guitarist's life like the leaving of it, aged 27. Philip Norman gives a forensic account of Hendrix's death, about which controversy still rages
Roger Lewis, DAILY MAIL
This is a good read that throws up interesting facts about the hugely exploitative nature of the 1960s music industry and its relationship to organised crime ... Wild Thing reveals some of the man behind the well-encrusted mythology, and sends the reader back to those wonderful records that still radiate with supernatural light