Jimi Hendrix’s ‘First Real Home’ In London Opens As Permanent Museum

Fans and music enthusiasts will be able to visit the home of rock legend Jimi Hendrix in London when it opens as a permanent museum for the public on February 10, BBC reports. Hendrix purchased the third-floor flat at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair in 1968, and referred to it as “the first real home of my own.”

With the help of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and private donors, over £2 million has been spent restoring the space. The home is owned by the Handel House Trust, who have been using it as an office, only opening it occasionally to the public, according to the report.

“It is hard to think of another home in the world with such a concentration of musical genius,” said Chairman of the trust, Alistair Stranack. “We hope that the opening of Jimi Hendrix’s flat will give people an added insight into the life and work of a figure whose actions have been examined no end since his death in 1970.”

“While it has been a pleasure to have been working in Jimi’s bedroom for the past few years, it is even more pleasing to be able to throw it open to everybody else.”

Jimi’s flat is in the same row as the home of the German composer George Frideric Handel, who lived at number 25 Brook Street for 26 years. Handel House Trust owns both homes. Hendrix was reportedly fascinated with Handel and owned many records of the composer’s work, including his most notable piece, the “Messiah” performed by the English Chamber Orchestra. This record is now housed at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington in a section of Jimi’s collection of records.

(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Stranack said that through arduous research and with the help of Hendrix’s circle of friends and acquaintances, the curators and administrators managed to create an image of what life was like for the late rocker during this time at the Mayfair house. Jimi shared the flat for a year with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham.

While he was a rising star when he arrived to London in 1966, the city helped catapult Jimi to stardom. As The Guardian notes, his first two singles, 1966’s “Hey Joe” and 1967’s “Purple Haze” and the Jimi Hendrix Experience album Are You Experienced later that year were huge hits. By the time he returned to the states a year later, Jimi was a superstar.

Fans will get to view rare and previously unseen images of Hendrix taken at the flat and around the neighborhood. The museum will also include a new studio to be used for teaching and as a concert venue.

Jimi, Andre
(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Outkast’s André 3000 played the guitar icon in the 2013 biopic All Is By My Side. The film chronicles Hendrix’s life as he left New York for London – right before his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. When André hit up the Late Show with David Letterman last year to promote the film, he revealed he didn’t hear Hendrix’s music for the first time until his late teens/early twenties.

“As a Black kid I grew up on rap and all that kind of stuff so, Hendrix was just like a wild, big haired image to me growing up,” said Benjamin. “[I heard Hendrix’s music for the first time when] I was watching Apocalypse Now and I heard this music come on, “All Along the Watch Tower,” and I was like woah, what is this.”

He also shared his regrets for taking on the burden of playing the music icon.

“Midway through shooting, ‘I was like man why did I take this job? Who plays Hendrix? He’s the coolest guy in the world,'” he said. “There were times when I was like man, ‘I think I’ve done more than I can handle.”

In related news, the multi-artist collaboration known as the Experience Hendrix Tour is set to return in 2016. According to the website, “this next edition will encompass twenty seven performances this coming February and March, stopping in more than two dozen cities along the east coast, Midwest and southern states.”

Tour dates and ticket information here.

Tickets for the Jimi Hendrix museum can be bought at Handel and Hendrix House beginning November 2.

[Image courtesy Hulton Archive/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/Twitter]