Backbeat Books

Few artists live on the way that Jimi Hendrix has, as potent a figure today as he was at the time of his death, an unthinkable 42 years ago. Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book, compiled by his half-sister Janie L. Hendrix, enhances that Herculean legacy with the conjuring power of her brother’s handwritten lyrics. There is something unnerving and uncannily intimate about seeing the guitar savant’s rather excellent left-handed penmanship sprawled across note book paper, yellow legal pads and hotel stationery—The Beverly Rodeo Hyatt House and the Londonderry hotel seemed to have been prolific locations for Hendrix’s unruly muse—catching the otherworldly genius in the act of creating his remarkable canon and his own mythic persona. Perhaps even more revealing than the actual lyrics he penned in ballpoint, are the words he rejected, crossed out, and never-before-seen photographs and unreleased songs. The final lyrics are also typed, so you can finally figure out what the first line to The Wind Cries Mary Actually is. A must-have for any serious Hendrix-ite.