‘Arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music,’ says Jimi Hendrix’s citation in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. James Marshall Hendrix remains unique as an African American who broke out of the traditional ‘Black’ genres of blues, r&b and soul to play hard rock to an overwhelmingly white audience, almost single-handedly creating what became known as heavy metal.

With unprecedented access to Jimi’s younger brother, Leon, the two most important women in his life and numerous previously untapped sources, bestselling music biographer Philip Norman resurrects the real Jimi from the almost mythical icon who has continued to influence young guitarists. His death in 1970, aged only twenty-seven when his fame was at its height, has long been rock’s greatest unsolved mystery. But finally we learn where the responsibility lay for Jimi’s lonely, squalid end.

‘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’ The Times

Reviews

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.
Paul Rees, DAILY EXPRESS
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
Tony Clayton-Lea, BUSINESS POST IRELAND
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
THE SUN
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
Jon Savage, NEW STATESMAN