Who Killed Hendrix? the Death of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix.
Why I Think Hendrix Was Murdered.
The legendary Guitarist Jimi Hendrix died on 18th September 1970 aged 27, it is commonly believed by choking on vomit in his sleep after overdosing on barbiturates. I first heard claims that this was not true, and that he was in fact brutally murdered around 2009, when former Animals Roadie James Wright published a book.
I hoped it wasn't true and obviously was skeptical. After all everyone loves a conspiracy theory, whenever anyone famous dies one starts up, Jimi IS also one of many famous musicians to have died at 27 including Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, and now Amy Winehouse. I hoped for his sake he did just die in a drug induced sleep, not knowing what was happening, as that is an easier death and I'm a fan of the guy. If rumors of his murder are true than the death he experienced sounds absolutely horrible, and was a film noir gangster style execution.
But the the more I looked, the more evidence I found that in fact Hendrix probably didn't die accidentally, or at least not under the circumstances that are commonly believed. There are many conflicting accounts of what happened on the night he died, and the account that most people seem to believe, that of Hendrix's girlfriend at the time Monika Dannemann is deeply flawed. The investigation was reopened a few years ago but was inconclusive as they found no new evidence. It must be very hard to find new evidence in a case this old and when so many of the people involved are dead now though, so that's hardly surprising.
I've gathered here all the information I've found about the night Hendrix died and the type of people he was involved with at the time, after reading it I'm sure you'll agree that something is not right here.
And I'm happy to discuss this further in the comments section and do try to approve comments as quickly as possible, so please comment if you'd like.
Jimi Hendrix Is A Member Of The "27 Club"
Jimi is one of many famous musicians to have died at 27 including Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, and now Amy Winehouse. Seems Very Strange doesn't it?
Some Things You Probably Didn't Know About Hendrix.
And at least one thing you probably didn't want to know...
in 1961 young Jimi Hendrix was caught stealing cars, in court he was offered 2 years in prison or to join the army as his sentence, not surprisingly he chose the Army and enlisted 31st May that year. He was assigned to the 101st airborne division, it has since been pointed out that this is quite an elite division for a young car thief to be assigned to. As it turned out he was also a poor soldier, preferring to play the guitar than train and take orders, his commanding officer wrote a scathing report about him 3 days before he was dismissed.
He was dismissed because whilst supposed to be helping another soldier paint a ceiling he apparently slipped off to the latrine, after a long wait the other soldier followed him there thinking he was sleeping. But when he looked over the cubicle he discovered he was actually masturbating!
He was kicked out after only serving 1 year when he was supposed to serve three and was just allowed to go, this seems very odd but reports seem to suggest the military just couldn't work with him he was untrainable. It still seems strange to me he wasn't sent to jail after being thrown out of the army though, after all it was sentence he was supposed to be serving.
I have read in many other places however that Jimi joined the military voluntarily and left because he sustained an injury, I found this other version of events on a site called "the smoking gun" in an article called "Jimi's Private Parts"and have linked to it in the links section. Check out the article yourself if you are interested The site claims all it's content is authentic and comes from proper sources.
Hendrix was also on the FBI security index after he played benefits for some subversive causes, and is also believed to have been on a list of people monitored during the CIA's mysterious operation CAOS. See the links at the end of this list for more information about Jimi's Army career.
The man people are claiming killed Hendrix for his life insurance policy after he threatened to find a new manager.
Jeffery was a very shady character indeed, he was born in South London in 1933 the sole child of two postal workers. He completed his education in 1949 and took a job as a clerk with Mobil oil and was drafted into National Service two years later, his grades in science put him in the Educational corps. When he signed on as a real soldier he was assigned to the intelligence corps and then his military career enters an obscure phase. So quite how he ended up a nightclub manager and finally managing bands is a bit of a mystery.
He is alleged to have had connections to the CIA and in his obituary his dad apparently said he could speak Russian, he also boasted connections to organised crime and used thugs to get people to do his bidding as I'll discuss later.
he ran the "Club-a-go-go" in Newcastle the venue where "The Animals" established themselves, he became their manager around the time they started their recording career. By the time he had finished with them they had only £500 in their bank account, where the rest went nobody knows. Members of the band have openly condemned him and blame him for the original bands break up saying he worked them into the ground and stole all their money. Jeffery also continued to manage other acts like "Eric Burdon and The New Animals" and "The Alan Price Set" (led by ex-Animals organist) and "The Soft Machine" a pioneering prog rock band from Coventry.
He was also apparently involved with Don Arden "The Al-Capone of pop" and Sharon Osbourne's dad incidentally. He was also a shady character and helped Jeffery bring his acts to the South.
It was only because Jeffery managed "The Animals" that he got his claws into Hendrix who was bought to England by Chas Chandler (the animals bassist at one point) who wanted to manage Hendrix himself but ended up co-managing him with Jeffery who informed him he was entitled to commission from all Chandlers work including management projects.
Chandler was in charge of the creative side of Hendrix's work, while he left the business and financial side of things to Jeffery (Which I bet he later regretted when he realised he'd nicked all the money). Jeffery did however help "The Experience" gain their American recording contract so we have him to thanks for those recordings with reprise, so not everything he did was terrible. Though he did syphon off most of the money gained from them and Jimi and the band saw very little of it, so it's all swings and round abouts.
Then Jeffery started to suggest that Chandler and Hendrix put money in to other ventures like clubs and recording Studios, Chandler left capacity as both co-manager and producer to Hendrix in 1968 during the Electric lady land sessions having been bought out by Jeffery. At the time this was said to be because of creative differences, but the little known truth is that Hendrix was actually caught by Chandler sleeping with his wife and he wanted nothing to do with him after that.
This put Michael Jeffery in complete control of Hendrix's professional life, and unfortunately for him Jeffery's financial resources became stretched around this time.
To generate more revenue he had Hendrix tour heavily, often when Hendrix didn't want to. He wasn't happy when Hendrix broke up The Experience and is said by Buddy Miles to have tried to undermine Hendrix's performance with his new band The Band Of Gypsies at Madison Square Gardens by giving Hendrix Acid. It's also been reported that he used Mafioso type tactics to get Hendrix to do his bidding too like sending thugs to Wood Stock to bring Hendrix to new York to do a show at a club owned by Gangsters.
Jeffery also produced the film "Rainbow Bridge" which featured a lot of footage of Hendrix which was another project that distracted Hendrix from writing and recording new music.
After Hendrix's death Jeffery was involved in administering "Rainbow Bridge" and albums culled from unreleased live and studio material, but this was erratic and appeared more for his own financial gain than for his love of Jimi.
Recently roadie James "Tappy" Wright has written a book in which he claims Jeffery drunkenly confessed to killing Hendrix, he quotes him as saying:
"I was in London the night of Jimi's death and together with some old friends . . . we went round to Monika's hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth . . . then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe. I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I'd lose everything."
This ties in with things the medical examiners said about the amount of undigested (so not vomited back up) wine in Hendrix's lungs stomach and hair that Monika Danneman never mentioned either.
And Tappy is not the only one Jeffery confessed to as well, Alan Douglas also claims he also told him the same story.
Jeffery is supposed to have died in a mid airplane crash in 1973 somewhere near France, conveniently...
A woman present on the night Hendrix died (he died in her apartment) and seems to have lied about what happened.
Monika Dannemann was a figure skater and painter from Germany and the daughter of a wealthy German industrialist. She certainly isn't popular among friends and fans of Hendrix, I've seen her referred to as "The skater from hell" "that Bitch" and simply "That Blonde Chick". And it has now come to light she was also a Cocaine addict who spent a lot of Hendrix's money on the drug while he was with her.
She claims to have been engaged to Hendrix and to have had an 18 month relationship with him, but many people dispute this, and apparently Hendrix used "will you marry me?" as a chat up line all the time and Dannemann may have just taken him to seriously.
After Hendrix she became romantically involved with The Scorpions guitarist Ulrich Roth who she collaborated with on several songs with and painted the art work for some of his albums. She also painted many pictures of Hendrix, some have described her house as some kind of eerie shrine to him, and she wrote a book about him that went unpublished because of a legal battle over slanderous claims she made about Cathy Etchingham (Hendrix's real girl friend for 2 years) in it.
Monika Dannemann's account of what happened the night before Hendrix died and at the time of his death is the most commonly heard version of events. The media have touted it for years and I believed it, until I started to look into what other people, like the medical professionals who performed the autopsy and the Ambulance men who picked him up say. The two versions of events are alarmingly different and raise a number of questions about who Dannemann actually was and what her intentions toward Hendrix really were.
First let me introduce you to Monika's chain of events the Night Hendrix died:
I've read the location of Hendrix's death described as a "Squalid Flat" and "Hotel Room" it was actually the basement apartment of the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne crescent London, which was being rented in Dannemann's name as far as I can ascertain. One account says Hendrix went to see Devon Wilson that night, but Dannemeann claims she drove him there, and he only stayed a few minutes and they were back at her flat by 8:30pm.
Other people have claimed that things got ugly at the party however and that Hendrix left her outside while he stayed for hours, she kept buzzing the intercom to get him out and people were shouting "go away Jimi doesn't want you here" out the windows. Apparently Jimi finally gave in around 3am and left with her, this is not what Danneman claimed however, she gave the impression they left much earlier.
She says she made him eat a meal and they drank White Wine, he then had a bath and washed his hair. They then spent a couple of hours talking an listening to music. At 1:30am Jimi rang Chas Chandlers Office (so this is when other people are saying he was actually still at party, and Monika was outside hassling him to leave) and left a poignant message of "I need help bad, man", but Dannemann never mentions this and others have tried to say the message as left on a different night.
Then at 1:45 am Dannemann claims Hendrix suddenly told her he wanted to go and see some people at another flat she says he said "They were not his friends and he did not like them but he wanted to show them he could cope. He told me he didn't want me to go with him so I dropped him off there and picked him up an hour later about 3am". He smoked some grass while he was there and when he came home she made him a tuna fish sandwich. As you can see this is a different story to what his other friends told, they say he never left the party where he saw Devon Wilson until 3am, but she says he left they went home, then he went out again.
Then there is a sudden divergence from her original account (I believe taken from her unpublished book), she says at 6am that something is wrong, that Devon has "slipped him an OD". Then by his own free will he took a handful of sleeping pills (9 vesperax to be exact, those are a type of secondal, I'm going to write another post on just how lethal those babies were) the normal dose was half a pill, Hendrix normally took 2 as he had a notoriously high tolerance to drugs like barbiturates. He then apparently urged her not to commit suicide (which seems like a weird thing to say, but secondal's were hypnotic so they possibly could have made him start saying weird things). He then carried on talking to her until she was asleep. But in another account she doesn't mention this at all she just says she took one sleeper 6:45 and fell asleep at 7am.
Sometime after 10:00am Chas Chandler apparently called Hendrix having received his message and Hendrix says "call me a bit later man". At 10:20 Dannemann wakes up finds Hendrix asleep and goes out for cigarettes. When she returns she finds Hendrix still asleep but has been sick, so she rings Eric Burdon from the Animals (which again seems strange) to ask for advice. He apparently initially hung up on her but then called back and told her to call and ambulance, she thought about it for another 40 minutes, apparently in case he woke up in hospital angry because he was fine really. She didn't call an ambulance until 11:00am for whatever reason, the ambulance men arrive and put him in the ambulance sitting up with his head unsupported, she claims she rode with him in the Ambulance and he was pronounced DOA at St Mary Abbots Hospital having choked on his vomit. This is what Danneman told the press happened in numerous interviews and what most people believe were the circumstances of Jimi's death.
But here is what the medical evidence says happened:
At the inquest Doctors stated that Hendrix had been dead at least 7 hours before the ambulance arrived, Dr Rufus Compson at the department for forensic medicine at St George's medical school started his own investigation and discovered rice remains in Hendrix's stomach. He explained it take 3 to 4 hours for the stomach to empty and he reasoned that since Hendrix had eaten at a dinner party hosted by Pete Cameron between 11:00am and 12:00pm (which Dannemann never mentions, she says Hendrix didn't go out until 1:45) he placed the time of death no later than 4am. Dr Bannister the surgical registrar reported the "inside of Hendrix's mouth and the mucus membranes were black because he had been dead for some time". He also told the London Times "Hendrix had been dead for hours rather than minutes when he was admitted to hospital".
And Here's what the Ambulance Men say they found when they got to flat:
The two men arrived to find the flat empty except for Hendrix lying in a mess on the bed already dead with a scarf or some other article of clothing knotted around his neck and soaked in Red wine, it was on his clothes and in his hair and all over the bed apparently. They say they tried to revive him as is standard procedure, then wrapped up the body, put it in the ambulance and drove to the hospital where he was pronounced DOA.
So Dannemann wasn't even there when the Ambulance arrived, let alone riding in the Ambulance with him. All this nonsense about his death being something to do with how the Ambulance men laid him down is untrue, as he was already well dead by the time he was even in an Ambulance. Her hanging round and trying so hard to get Hendrix out of that party could be seen as jealousy or something darker, the flat was not broken into so whoever killed Hendrix was let in or had a key. Could Jeffery have bribed Monika to let him in and make sure Hendrix was there when he came?
The big question is what was Dannemann hiding? If Jeffrey and his mobsters really did come round and kill him, she must have witnessed it or even been involved. I notice too she kept feeding him, could she have been lacing this food with the barbiturates they found in his blood? They normally came in capsules filled with powder so it would have been easy to do. Also where did she go before the Ambulance arrived? And why did she claim she was still there? And why have the media swallowed her version of events so readily for so many years?
I'd like to ask her but unfortunately she's dead, she was found in her fume filled Mercedes a couple of days after losing her court battle with Cathy Etchingham I mentioned earlier. The verdict was suicide, but was it really? or was someone afraid she would finally start telling the truth after all these years?
Or the more boring truth could simply be Hendrix stayed in her flat alone that night, and she was simply a bit of a delusional woman who invented this whole story to draw attention to herself. She did make quite life for herself out of giving interviews about the 18 months she claims she spent with Hendrix and he was subject of many of her paintings. Anyone could have made the 999 call for an ambulance no one really knows for sure it was Dannemann we only have her word for it, and as we can see her word was never really very reliable.
Monika Dannemann's Book on Jimi Hendrix. - Cathy Etchingham took her to court to stop it being published, one of the more controversial books about Jimi Hendrix
Found this on Amazon the other day and was surprised to see it. One of the more interesting Jimi Hendrix books as there was legal battle to stop it being published as she apparently called Cathy Etchingham a liar, so I imagine parts of it have been removed or changed. It is available at lower prices than the one shown here too.
Super Groupie and heroin addict, but was she involved with Hendrix's death?
Devon is supposed to have slept with many rock stars including Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Miles Davis, and she is said to be the subject of the Hendrix song "Dolly Dagger" and was in the control room when it was recorded.
Hendrix reportedly visited her before going to Dannemann's the night he died, but Dannemann claimed he visited her first and she drove him to Devons, Dannemann also said he later told her Devon may have "slipped him an OD".
There are rumours that Devon was another of Hendrix's girlfriends and they argued after Monika told everyone they were engaged and flashed a ring around. So both Devon and Jeffery were being dumped by Hendrix and it is possible she was paid to slip him something by Jeffery, not realising his full intentions. She was badly addicted to heroin and did desperate things to get it, and she apparently became hysterical at Hendrix's funeral and tried to jump into the grave with him.
She also died a year after Hendrix and was apparently going around saying Jeffery had killed Hendrix, she fell from the 8th floor of the Chelsea Hotel in New York in February 1971. Some think it was suicide but there are many rumors about foul play.
- Jimi's Private Parts
More information about Jimi's military career.
- Chapter 7 From The Book "The Covert War Against Rock"
chapter about the death of Hendrix from Alex Constantine's book
- A Rock Legend Unto Herself
Article about Monika Danneman and her court case with Cathy Etchingham.
Who Do You Think Killed Hendrix? - Vote for the suspect you think is most likely to have killed Hendrix.
Based on what you've read here who do you think killed Hendrix? Do you even believe he was murdered? Or do you think it's all a conspiracy theory and we're all mad for even thinking about it? I've now added a debate module below so be sure to get involved if you have a strong opinion on the matter.
Who Do you think killed Hendrix?
Join The Debate. - Do you believe Jimi Hendrix was murdered?
Over my time of writing about the circumstances surrounding hendrix's death I've often come up against people who don't believe that he was murdered at all and just think we should accept that he died of an accidental overdose. Though we will probably never be able to prove what actually happened I feel that there is enough evidence of foul play to reject the idea that his death was purely an accident, what do you think?
Do you think Hendrix was murdered?
Book Review: Rock Roadie Backstage And Confidential With Hendrix, Elvis, the "Animals", And An All Star Cast.
It was seeing the author of this book James "Tappy" Wright interviewed on more 4 news that first sparked my interest in the circumstances surrounding Hendrix's death. So I quickly bought his book, here is my review.
Book Review: The Covert War Against Rock.
It was during my research for the blog posts that led to me making this lens that I stumbled across an extract from this book and subsequently bought it. It has proved to be an Interesting read, it discusses the death of many other Rock and Rap stars dating from the 60's right up until the 90's including Jim Morrison Brian Jones, Peter Tosh and Tupac Shakur.
My thoughts on what really happened to Hendrix on the night of his death
As you can see it's a very complex story involving jealous lovers and money, and even a possible military assassination since Hendrix was being watched by the FBI and CIA and had his own mysterious military career that finished abruptly. It's also alarming that all the principal people involved have died suddenly, Monika Dannemann died just as the investigation was being re-opened, and was always dead against suicide, her ex partner also has claimed there was foul play.
It's also been suggested that Michael Jeffery's confession was fake to draw attention away from why and by whom Hendrix was really killed, and it's pretty safe to assume that Jeffery was still working for the military in some capacity. If the military really are involved then we'll not have any answers for another few years because of the official secrets act, and even then they'll only release what they want us to know.
Another thing that strikes me as odd is knowing what we now Know about what happened between Chandler and Hendrix, why would Jimi Have rang him for help of all people? Was Chandler also lying about the night Hendrix died? We know he can't have liked Hendrix by then, and that he can't of spoken to him at 10am as he was long dead by then.
Eric Burdon has also lied over the years about what happened that night too, at one time saying there was a suicide note, but has apparently since admitted he got a phone call from Monika much earlier than he first said, and went round the flat after Hendrix was dead to help get rid of any drugs that were there. These things show how afraid people were of Michael Jeffery and what he might do to them if they spoke out at the time.
It seems to me Hendrix might have lived longer if he's been able to keep it in in his pants a little better, though his behaviour in the army and towards his friends wives suggests he may have been a sex addict (yes that is a medical condition believe it or not). Also if he'd taken time to chose his management more carefully he might have led a longer life, it would have been interesting to see what he would do next as I think he was only just beginning to show us what he was capable of musically. With advances in technology he would have produced some amazing sounds I'm sure.
Before he died mysteriously on 2nd July 1969 Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones spoke of forming a new band with Hendrix and John Lennon, which at the time would have broken up the Beatles too if he had been successful. But I'm not touching that one with ten foot barge pole...
My original blog posts were enhanced by the comments left by readers, if you have heard anything that's not here or want me to look into some other angle leave me a comment and I will update the lens.