Books by Harry Shapiro

JIMI HENDRIX by Harry Shapiro
Released: July 22, 1991

Definitive biography of the giant of the electric guitar, who died in 1970 at age 27. Shapiro is a British music-writer, while Glebbeek runs the Hendrix Information Service. Shapiro and Glebbeek provide the most detailed story of Hendrix yet written, getting down to as day-by-day as possible, especially in logging his itineraries around the States, England, and Europe. The appendices fill 200 pages and list every guitar Hendrix ever owned, every piece he ever recorded, every film and book about him, and more—everything the guitar-playing Hendrix- freak would want to know. The text never flags, is journeyman without brilliance, features endless piecemeal interviews and statements. The book makes firm that Hendrix was the most passionate, inspired, innovative electric guitarist of this century, a Paganini of agility and amperage. He was oddly shy, a black among whites and had no black following, no black fellow players among the tribes of rock—and yet was the greatest rock player of his day, although he disliked a rock label, a blues label, or any label. Unlike the Beatles, Hendrix's Experience trio never played anything the same way twice, even his own songs. His brief life put him forever on the move, away from his family in Seattle and into the paratroopers, away from Harlem to Greenwich Village and the pop scene, away from Manhattan to London to establish his own group and start recording. Hendrix slept with his guitar as if with a woman, jammed every moment possible, thought in a flaming cloud of music. The authors think his barbiturate death an accident. You'll dig out the four albums Hendrix made before dying—and again find him a crackling wizard. (For a more musiculturally oriented view of Hendrix's life, see Charles Murray's Crosstown Traffic, 1990.) (Seventy-five b&w photographs, 16 pp. of color photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >