The Who’s Roger Daltrey opened up about the last time he saw Jimi Hendrix, just days before his untimely death on Sept. 18, 1970.
Videos by American Songwriter
Daltrey is one of four people who spent time with Hendrix the week prior to his death at the age of 27 and shared intimate details of their final time together in a recent BBC interview with comedian Romesh Ranganathan.
“No one knows about it but myself and about three other people that are still alive,” said Daltrey, who shared his personal story. Throughout the years, some controversial theories have floated around Hendrix’s death—which was caused by an apparent drug overdose—including suicide and rumors of foul play.
“This is the weekend before he died,” shared Daltrey. “I was on tour in Germany, and Jimi and his friend, Devon Wilson, came to my cottage in Berkshire. At my house was my wife-to-be Heather and another girl called Katherine.”
Daltrey said that Hendrix was talking about the future and wanting to move into a more “jazzy form” of music and that he was excited about a studio in New York. “He and Devon were doing this thing, which gospel singers do, and they were doing it with a call and answer—and they were doing it with Bob Dylan lyrics. So song after song, he quotes one line she’d quote the other… but it gradually slowed down, slowed down until Devon finally fell asleep.”
At some point during their time together Daltrey said his fiancé Heather said to him that it was “obvious that Jimi was taking more and more barbiturates and his speech became slurred.” Wilson fell asleep and was carried to bed by Heather and Katherine. “Then he passed out, and then now they’re starting to get worried,” said Daltrey, who added that Heather and Katherine then placed Hendrix in a bed and took his boots off at around 2 a.m.
“So they put the kettle on for a cup of tea and blow me if 10 minutes later he [Hendrix] doesn’t appear in the doorway with his boots back on, his hat on all skew-whiff and says, ‘right I’m ready for the interview,’” said Daltrey. “I mean, you can’t make it up.”
By 11 a.m. everyone, Hendrix and Wilson headed back to London by cab.
“That was that weekend,” said Daltrey, “and as I say, he was as right as rain in the morning like nothing had happened.”
Photo: The Curtis Brown Group