Rolling Stone issue #34 had a cover date of May 31, 1969. 40 page. 35 cents. Cover photo of Jimi Hendrix by Franz Maier.
Features: “Cash and Dylan Tape TV Number in Nashville” by Patrick Thomas; “Muddy Waters Week in Chicago” by Don DeMicheal; “Johnny Cash At San Quentin” by Ralph J. Gleason; “Delaney & Bonnie” by Jerry Hopkins; “Festival in Black” by John Burks; “Fuzz Against Junk: The Saga of the Narcotics Brigade, Installment Two” by Akbar Del Piombo.
News: “Janis and London Come Together” by Jonathan Cott and David Dalton; “A Decency Rally Fans the Flames”; “An Unpleasantness At Venice”; “Hendrix Busted In Toronto” by Ritchie Yorke and Ben Fong-Torres; “The Ballad of John & Yoko”; “Free Music”; “Ash Grove in Ashes After $40,000 Fire”; “Magical Mystery Non-Benefit”; “Fuzz Against Junk” by Akbar Del Piombo. And Random Notes.
Rolling Stone issue #26 had a cover date of February 1, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Jimi Hendrix by Baron Wolman.
This issue was the look back on 1968 with cover star Jimi Hendrix honored as “Performer of the Year.” It’s crazy to think that Jimi Hendrix was an active musician at this point, still very much alive, and not just a commodified personality for endless repackaging. It’s nice to see great artists being celebrated before they’re dead.
Within a couple years, of course, Hendrix would be gone along with Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. But they’d achieve immortality in the pages of Rolling Stone — and in the mainstream American consciousness, due in no small part to Jann Wenner’s endless glorification and nostalgia.
Features: “The Memphis Debut of the Janis Joplin Revue” by Stanley Booth; “It Happened in 1968”; “Rock ’68” by Jon Landau; “Dino Valente” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Miami Pop Festival: The Most Festive Festival of 1968” by Ellen Sander; “The Band: Three New LP’s Are In The Works” by Paul Nelson; “Nash, Crosby & Stills: ‘Happiest Sounds You Ever Heard!'” by Miles; “A Short History Of Oregon” by Richard Brautigan
News: “Lower East Side: Motherfuckers Hit The Fillmore East”; “Police Harassment Staggers LA Clubs”; “Traffic Is Re-Born, Frog and New Name”; “Jefferson Airplane: New Live Album Ready to Release” by John Burks; “Nick the Greek To Do Solo LP”; “The Rascals: Won’t Play Unless Bill Is Half Black”; “FM Radio Clock”; “Columbia Records In Record Stores”; “Kingston Trio LP”; “Ravers in the Nude” by Our Special Correspondent; “Monterey Pop Film”; “TV Special & Album: Beatles First Live Concert in 2 Years”; “Gary Burton Named Jazzman of the Year”; “[Beggar’s Banquet press luncheon]”; “Country Joe & Fish Take No More Gigs”; “John and Yoko in Newark, New Jersey”; “Rock Business Booms in S.F.”
Columns: “Astrology: 1969” by Gavin Arthur; Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason (“Dawn of True Sexual Hysteria” on Elvis Presley); Visuals by Thomas Albright (“Computer Soul”); “Books” by Richard Kostelanetz (on The Poetry of the Blues by Samuel Charters, 1963).
Let’s be honest, we’re gaining nothing new from a “new” Jimi Hendrix record. At this point, we are only able to piece a day-by-day audio picture of the man, cobbled together occasionally in some semblance of a record. There’s a part of me thinks that the man, himself a perfectionist who would record endless takes of a track until he found the right one, would be rolling in his grave at the thought of us still releasing albums from his audio demos, rehearsals, and alternate takes.
He died too young to give a clear indication of where he wanted to go next, and judging from what I’ve read, his passing came during a time when different factions in his life were pressuring him to do more with his notoriety. More shows. More money. More responsibility. And all the man really wanted to do was to play his guitar.
Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Clichéd, sure, but also apparently true. A recent study of 1,050 American and European music artists between 1965 and 2005 shows that rock and rollers are twice as likely to die young as the rest of us working stiffs.
While the idea that rock stars tend to die young is nothing new, this is apparently the first study to scientifically document the trend. According to the report published in Britain’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (PDF), a quarter of all the musicians’ deaths registered during the study period were due to drug or alcohol abuse.
What’s interesting is the data. One hundred stars, of the 1,050 observed, died during the 40 year study. And while 27 is often thought to be the rock star’s average shelf life (See: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain—all dead at 27), the actual average age at the time of death is 42 for American rockers and 35 for Europeans.
No word on how undead rocks stars like The Rolling Stones threw off the average.