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In early 1966, Linda Keith, then girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, befriended a guitarist called Jimi Hendrix during a visit to New York. While he was much in demand as a session musician, Hendrix had yet to achieve success in his own right. Keith introduced him to the Rolling Stones management, but they passed up on the opportunity. She then approached Chas Chandler, who was looking to manage artists following the recent break-up of his band, The Animals.
In September, Chandler persuaded Hendrix to travel to Britain where he teamed him up with the English musicians Noel Redding (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums) to form The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They swiftly recorded and released their first single, a version of the rock standard “Hey Joe”. The trio returned to the studio during November to begin recording their début album Are You Experienced?
As part of these sessions they recorded their second single, “Purple Haze” for the A-side, and “51st Anniversary” on the B-side. It had its UK release on 17th March 1967, entering the UK charts at number 39 before peaking at number 3. The US release of the single was on 19th June, but it only reached number 65 in the charts.
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