Jimi Hendrix sent telegram to Beatles star Paul McCartney in 1969 asking him to record in a supergroup with jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.
It's been long known that jazz trumpeter Davis and guitarist Hendrix had been toying with plans to record together in the year before Hendrix's sudden death in 1970. But a piece of memorabilia, which has been on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague, confirms that they were also trying to recruit McCartney as the bass player. Williams, one of the best jazz drummers of the 1960s, was also lined up for the group.
A telegram (complete with a typographical error, below) that Hendrix sent to McCartney at The Beatles' Apple Records in London on October 21, 1969, told him to get in touch with producer Alan Douglas:
"We are recording and LP together this weekend. How about coming in to play bass stop call Alan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams."
Beatles aide Peter Brown replied on McCartney's behalf, telling Hendrix the following day that McCartney was on holiday in Scotland and not expected back for another two weeks. It was at a time when McCartney's band, The Beatles, were falling apart because of artistic and financial disputes.
Hendrix has had a musical resurgence this year following the release of his posthumous record People, Hell And Angels – 12 previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1968 and 1970 – which has become his highest-charting album in 44 years.
The telegram, which advised McCartney to contact producer Douglas if he could make the session, has been part of the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia collection since it was purchased at auction in 1995 and is now attracting renewed interest in Prague where it is on display at the restaurant. Hard Rock historian Jeff Nolan said: "Major Hendrix connoisseurs are aware of the telegram. It would have been one of the most insane supergroups."
Hendrix biographer Charles Shaar Murray told AFP: "At first it sounds really weird and off the wall. But on second thought it makes perfect, Hendrix-type sense to chuck in someone who's a great musician but comes from a different tradition. I regret this never actually took place . . . it would have been magnificent."
Eddie Kramer, the engineer who produced most of Hendrix's music, agreed, saying: "It would have been phenomenal. Lord knows where it may have gone; those huge egos in the studio at the same time. I would have loved to have done that one. But it was not to be."
At the time, Davis was moving away from his jazz roots toward a fusion-based sound and it's not clear exactly what music the band would have tried to record. In his autobiography, Davis said he and Hendrix occasionally jammed together at his apartment in New York and were only prevented from recording by their busy schedules. Other reports say that the recording failed to happen because Davis wanted $50,000 up front to attend the session.
McCartney is the only one of the four musicians who is still alive. His spokesman, Stuart Bell, said the former Beatle was too busy on his world tour to comb his memory for his thoughts about a telegram sent more than four decades ago.