Today marks the 46th anniversary of the studio recording of Hey Joe.
The following is an excerpt from my book, Through Gypsy Eyes
Chas took the Experience into the studio to record ‘Hey Joe,’ the first single, just two months after Jimi set foot in England. We all went down together to Kingsway Studios, near the Strand, in a taxi. The studio itself was tiny and cramped. Jimi was very nervous at the prospect of singing. He had all the confidence in the world about his guitar-playing, but he had no faith in his voice. Chas was continually having to gee him along and tell him that it was easy and anyone could do it. I had to sit in the studio itself because the console area was too small to accommodate anyone surplus to essential requirements.
‘Keep an eye open for the Breakaways,’ Chas told me, ‘they’re doing the backing vocals.’
‘What do they look like?’ I asked, imagining them as glitzy showgirls, all made-up for the occasion.
Chas laughed. “you’ll think they’re cleaning ladies,’ he said. ‘They don’t dress up for recording sessions.’
When they did turn up, complete with scarves over their hair, I could see what he meant. So much for the glamour of the music industry. They didn’t have any chance to rehearse as every extra hour in the studio was costing Chas money, so he wrote the words on pieces of paper and held them up behind the glass for the girls to read as they sang. I was very impressed by their professionalism.
During a pause for discussion. I slipped out to the loo. When I got back there was a red light on above the studio door, which meant nothing to me. Ignoring it, I pushed my way back in, making a loud clatter, and ruined the whole recording.
Chas went absolutely ape, screaming and shouting at me as I cowered in the corner, shaking and wishing I could just disappear. Some of the music history books say that Jimi was upset at the session because Chas was shouting at him, but it was me he was yelling at, not Jimi.
I was desperately keen for Jimi to be a success because if he wasn’t I knew he would have to go back to America and that would probably be the end of our relationship. I was sure that he had the potential to be a big star: he just had to get the breaks to make it happen. Chas’s excitement and optimism wore off on all of us, but there were always those moments of doubt when we wondered if the breakthrough would come in time.
For a link to get Through Gypsy Eyes from the Kindle store click on the image below.