Got to keep moving

Jeremy Harding

  • Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop by Charles Shaar Murray
    Faber, 247 pp, £7.99, November 1989, ISBN 0 571 14936 7
  • Autobiography by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
    Macmillan, 400 pp, £13.95, February 1990, ISBN 0 333 53195 7

The idea that a falling object was about to defy gravity before it hit the ground is a familiar one in the mythology of the pop idol. It is the gist of Charles Shaar Murray’s book about Jimi Hendrix, who enjoyed a great career as a virtuoso guitar player between 1966 and 1970, when he died in a London hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills. In a sparkling homage, far more readable than most books about pop music, Murray argues that the extravagant left-hander who introduced a new vocabulary to rock guitar-playing was the unsung progenitor of a jazz we will never know.

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