When famous African-American guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix was found dead in a London flat on September 18, 1970 aged a mere 27 years, newspaper reports claimed he had died from a heroin overdose while the autopsy report claimed he had drowned on his own vomit. It would take years to know the gifted entertainer was a victim of COINTELPRO which even in death slandered him.
Jimi Hendrix was one of the highest paid musicians in the world by the end of 1969 after Woodstock festival – reportedly with a net worth of $175m (£141m) but life wasn’t always sweet.
It took Chas Chandler, the bass player of the rock band The Animals to discover Hendrix playing at the café Wha in New York in 1966. Acting on a hunch and his musical experience knowledge, he sold his guitars and borrowed money to bring Hendrix to London.
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When Jimi Hendrix played the Monterey Summer Festival in 1967 and stole the show, he became a superstar overnight in both sides of the Atlantic.
He was different from the other top stars of the time. His sound deferred from The Rolling Stones and The Beatles and added to that, there was no African-American guitar player of the time playing rock to a wide audience as he was doing.
Life was thus good for Jimi Hendrix whose appetite for sex was huge including love for threesomes as well as Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) use and the occasional try at cocaine.
But then trouble was brewing. Hendrix was managed by Mike Jeffery who worked for the government in the national service before joining military intelligence (MI16). He also had mob ties and as the years proved unfortunately for Hendrix, he was a devious character who not only stole huge sums from him, but also set up dummy accounts and siphoned the singer’s funds into.
Jeffery’s contract with Hendrix was running out and the singer had told a few associates he will fire his manager. Hendrix had also filed a suit about the theft in a bid to recover his funds but just before the set date for the case was due and Jeffrey was to make an appearance Hendrix was assassinated. It’s interesting to also note that Jeffery had also taken a $2 million insurance policy on Hendrix’s life essentially making the singer more valuable dead than alive.
Prior to his death Jeffrey had put spies on Jimi and on at least one occasion, the singer stated he was kidnapped only for Jeffery to rescue him which he found phony. Hendrix believed his manager wanted to prove to him he was indispensable. Then there was the conflict of the music direction for which the manager wanted sticking to the early style, which made him good money while Jimi was trying new sounds.
In Jimi Hendrix, The Last 24 Hours documentary directed by Mike Parkinson featuring contributions from Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton as well as Duncan Wells and Ray Santilli, the case is made that the neutralization of one of the best rock talents was executed by the US government, mafia and his manager Mike Jeffrey.
Declassified documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the 60s showed Richard Nixon’s government as well as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover were concerned about the anti-Vietnam movements and the rise of black power movements.
Rock music stars who commanded the attention of millions were put on a special watch list including Hendrix. By the 1970s, many celebrities were attending antiwar rallies and Black Panther fund raisers. Jimi contributed significantly to the Panthers.
Political researcher and author, Alex Constantine notes that the US government and organized crime groups have always collaborated since the Jukebox days and submits when Hendrix ill-advisedly stated that the Black Panthers invade Washington he was a dead man. And when he did a benefit concert for Bobby Seale and the Chicago Eight, that got the attention of the FBI and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) program which he said “was a surveillance and assassination program responsible for the deaths of 28 Black Panthers plus Tupac Shakur making 29” as he was also a Panther.
Jim de Eugenio, a US Secret Services commentator also notes that the COINTELPRO program neutralized or defamed “in Hoover’s words ‘messianic Black leaders’.”
When a group of students from the Santa Barbra University in California made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Hendrix, they got six heavily blacked out pages and upon appeal got seven more pages. From the materials, it was discovered Hendrix was put on an index of notables to round up and place in detention camps, in the event of a national emergency.
Even decades after his death, the heavily redacted documents remain unavailable to the public obscuring critical information on his killing and motives.
When he was wheeled into the emergency room, his throat was cleared and there was great gushing of red wine coming from his lungs and stomach, according to the medical officers who handled him, but crucially only 20 milligrams of alcohol was in his system indicating there wasn’t enough time for the alcohol to enter his system.
Constantine believes in the face of pathological evidence, witness statement and the lies his supposed girlfriend Monika Dannemann submitted at the inquest hearing, Hendrix’s September 18, 1970 demise was not suicide as he was fully clothed when found nor was it an accident. Neither was his death, he continued, as a result of overdosing on sleeping pills nor was it heroine overdoes as Hendrix never used the drug, but rather the singer had been held down and huge volumes of red wine poured down his throat filling his lungs and drowning him (waterboarding). Coroner results earlier revealed a small amount of wine in his bloodstream and liver showing he couldn’t have drank such volumes.
John Bannister, the on-call registrar, also told The Times in 2000: “The amount of wine that was over him was just extraordinary. Not only was it saturated right through his hair and shirt but his lungs and stomach were absolutely full of wine.” I have never seen so much wine. I would have thought there was half a bottle of wine in his hair. He had really drowned in a massive amount of red wine.”
Chas Chandler, the man who discovered Hendrix and flew him to London to become his producer said after his death: “I don’t believe for one minute that he killed himself. That was out of the question.”
But the Hendrix story won’t be compete without lose ends being tied so in typical Operation MHChaos style, Devon Wilson one of Jimmy’s girlfriend was found dead in 1971 plummeting from the balcony of the Chelsea Hotel window.
Manager Jeffery himself who had told an associate that he had a hand in Jimi’s death and had become unhappy after his demise also perished in a suspicious plane crash in 1973 aged 39, just three years after Hendrix passed.
His last girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, a former ice skating champion and daughter of a German industrialist whose inconsistent testimony was later exposed also died in an alleged carbon monoxide poisoning in 1995 just before going on air to discuss and tell the mysterious circumstances of Jimmy’s death.