Ritchie Blackmore recalls when Hendrix came to England: “Jeff Beck came up to me and said ‘We’ve got to do something about this guy’”

Blackmore also recalled what surprised him about Hendrix when their paths finally crossed.

Ritchie Blackmore has recalled the impact Jimi Hendrix had on the English guitar scene of the 60s, saying his guitar playing prowess at the time was intimidating even to the great Jeff Beck.

Blackmore was speaking as a guest host on SiriusXM’s Guitar Greats programme last month (12 April) where he discussed some of his biggest guitar inspirations.

The Deep Purple founding guitarist recalled a conversation in which Jeff Beck got “a little upset” with Hendrix’s strong arrival onto the UK scene.

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“When [Hendrix] came to England, Jeff Beck came up to me and said ‘Ritchie, we’ve got to do something about this guy’,” Blackmore said. “And I said ‘who are you talking about?’ And he said ‘Jimi Hendrix, he’s killing everybody over here – he’s upsetting everybody!’”

“And I’m like ‘well Jeff if you can’t do it, nobody else is going to do it’ because I always thought of Jeff as being the best rock player.”

Blackmore revealed that he took inspiration from Hendrix’s approach to riffing, and labelled Stone Free from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album as “a fantastic solo” for its wild vibrato.

“I followed him because I thought the way he used riffs [and surrounded songs] in a riff – it had magical moments,” Blackmore said. “Brilliant guitar player and he also looked like he was from the moon.”

He added: “Really in a way he didn’t have to play the guitar, because he looked so strange and different to the typical English musician, and it worked and i’m so glad it did. Unfortunately it only worked for three years, but he certainly set the world alight.”

Elsewhere in the segment, Blackmore spoke about what surprised him about Hendrix when the two guitar greats finally crossed paths in America.

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“I only met him once. It was in the Whiskey in Hollywood and I was going into the toilet and he was playing with his hair or something,” Blackmore recalled. “I mean I always thought of Jimi Hendrix as the ‘Wild Man Of Borneo’ and there he is – fixing his hair in the mirror.”

“That was the only time I met him and we kind of nodded to each other and that was it. So I never really got to know him, yet he certainly set the world on fire.”

Other favourite guitar inspirations listed by Blackmore include Les Paul, Albert Lee, Eric Johnson and Trevor Rabin.

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