In a year that marks both the 75th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s birth and the 50th anniversary of his galvanizing debut album, “Are You Experienced?,” Sony Music Entertainment and Experience Hendrix L.L.C. have agreed to renew their licensing partnership, which was first signed in 2009. The agreement covers the continued “curation” and distribution of the rock icon’s catalog and archives via all media formats and platforms.
Janie Hendrix, 56, the overseer of the estate as CEO/President, was nine years old when her older brother died from a barbiturate overdose in 1970, but remembers, when she was six, the siblings promising to take care of one another, no matter what. With the opening of the Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle last month and the ongoing Hendrix Experience Tour – featuring special guests such as Carlos Santana and Paul Rodgers – as well as many other efforts over the past 20 years, Janie has turned her older sibling’s intellectual property into a successful business; it was in a state of considerable disarray when the estate managed to take control in the mid-1990s. She says there are even more new studio and live recordings from Jimi’s seemingly bottomless vault scheduled to come out in the new year under terms of the new deal.
“I remember being in a green room, and Jimi turned over a bucket of chicken and there was nothing in it,” she says from a trailer making her way from Seattle to Arizona. “Not that he was hungry, but it did make me realize the people around him weren’t really taking care of him. And even though he’s not here, it’s my honor and privilege to do what I do. I’m reminded him of him daily — we just stopped in at a sports bar on the Oregon coast and heard one of his songs come on. He’s always around.”
Janie says she feels comfortable keeping her brother’s archives at Sony Music and Legacy Recordings.
“Jimi’s life and legacy are precious to us and, quite naturally, we could only entrust it into the hands of those who share our love and enthusiasm for his amazing work,” she says. “Sony, through Legacy Recordings, has proven their dedication to preserving Jimi’s life work with integrity. Being with Sony is like being at home with family. We are comfortable with our partnership and excited about the future of Jimi’s catalog.”
The catalog and archives encompass the recordings made by the guitarist/singer/composer from 1966 to 1970. The catalog has also expanded to include definitive presentations of legendary live performances at Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, recordings made for the BBC, and the studio recordings he made at his Electric Lady Studios in New York’sGreenwich Village. Led by the estate’s catalog director/producer John McDermott, several audio-visual titles have been released in recent years, including the Grammy-winning “Band of Gypsys” and the Emmy-winning 2014 PBS American Masters documentary, “Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A-Comin’.”
Sony’s Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix have made available several volumes of previously unreleased studio recordings over the past eight years: “ Valleys of Neptune” (2010), “West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology,” “People, Hell and Angels” (2013) and live recordings from Winterland, his first-ever show with Band of Gypsys at Fillmore East New Year’s Eve 1969, and the historic 1970 performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival, “Freedom,” including a DVD/Blu-ray released as “Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Church,” which has been airing on Showtime.
Added Legacy Recordings President Adam Block, “Sony Music and Legacy Recordings are proud and honored to continue working with Experience Hendrix to bring the sounds of Jimi Hendrix to future generations of musicians and fans. Over the course of his all-too-brief career, Jimi Hendrix altered the DNA of popular music and the effects of his presence can still be felt in the recordings he left behind.”