Hendrix's Legendary Lost Burnt Guitar Sold

Posted on: 05 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The first guitar Jimi Hendrix burnt, found after 40 years, fetches £280,000 at auction.

March 1967, Finsbury Astoria, London. After announcing his arrival to UK audiences with a landmark live performance, the emerging icon of a generation sets his Fender Stratocaster guitar alight, and ensures live music would never be the same again.

Jimi Hendrix's 1965 Fender Stratocaster, the first guitar famously burnt by the rock icon, went under the hammer for £280,000 at The Fame Bureau and Idea Generation auction on September 4th 2008 of musical artefacts that helped define the history of rock and roll.

Fame BureauThe sale included Jim Morrison's final notebook of poetry and musings before his death in Paris in 1971 which fetched £58,000, the last surviving drum-kit of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham which sold for £26,000, and maverick 1950s producer Joe Meek's 2,000 master tapes featuring Jimmy Page, Gene Vincent, Tom Jones, David Bowie and others.

Beatles memorabilia included John Lennon's Lyrics for Sexy Sadie carved into a tree wood slice which fetched £32,000, and manager Brian Epstein's copy of their first contract signed by the fab four in 1962. Bids reached £240,000, but the reserve price was not met, however there has been a substantial post-auction offer that is being strongly considered in the region of the reserve price.

Beatles John Lennon's Lyrics for Sexy Sadie - Fame BureauJimi Hendrix played the Finsbury Astoria on the opening night of the Walker Brothers tour on March 31st 1967. Only allowed into the UK on a temporary visa, Hendrix was determined to leave an indelible impact on all who witnessed the performance. He instructed close confidante and press officer Tony Garland to buy lighter fluid from a local hardware store, and at the end of his show Hendrix re-defined the limits of live performance forever.

Flames flew into the air as Hendrix set fire to the base of his Fender Stratocaster, and the astonished audience looked on as the American renegade was ushered off-stage by petrified venue staff, and taken to hospital with minor hand injuries.

Beatles contract - Fame BureauWhilst Hendrix was being treated, his guitar was retrieved by his roadies, and eventually returned to Garland's London offices. The guitar was then kept at the home of Noel Redding, bass player with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, before Garland collected the guitar and stored it at his parent's garage in Hove. It was only unearthed by Garland's nephew in 2007.

Although Hendrix famously repeated the stunt at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, the Astoria guitar remains the only surviving burnt guitar fully intact, with burns still visible along the neck and pinboard.

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