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Hendrix set to wow London

By Astrid Zweynert

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LONDON (Reuters) - He took the world by storm in the 1960s, and now 34 years after his death guitar king Jimi Hendrix is to come blazing back in a new exhibition including unreleased music and unseen footage of his performances.

The show which opens at London's Marquee Club next month, is based on a collection of memorabilia put together by an American fan and features thousands of items worth 15 million pounds.

Organisers say the exhibition will be like a live Hendrix show and expect the "psychedelic experience" to attract 1,500 visitors daily.

"It's the largest Hendrix collection in the world," said Ted Owen, of auctioneers Cooper Owen, who will eventually sell off the show's contents. "It covers every aspect of his life."

The collection was built up by Bob Terry, a fan from Hendrix's home city Seattle, who started on a tiny scale at the age of 17, and then sold it to another collector.

Among the top items will be unseen footage of Hendrix at the Woodstock, Monterey and Isle of Wight festivals. The Monterey performance, with the image of Hendrix holding his burning guitar aloft, became emblematic of his wild spirit and energy.

There are also tapes of around 50 hours of unreleased music, including hits such as "Purple Haze" which Hendrix recorded in the studio and brought home to listen to or work on.

Another star item is a white Fender Stratocaster guitar, complete with cigarette burns, which could fetch 250,000 pounds, Owen said.

The guitar has been heavily scratched by left-handed Hendrix's rings and his trademark trick of running the instrument up and down the microphone stand.

A Cherokee-style jacket, cherished by Hendrix because of his Indian roots, could fetch 30,000 pounds. Poems, records, concert tickets and artwork will also go under the hammer.

Hendrix spent his most successful years in Britain, where he arrived in 1966 and his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, had its first hit single with "Hey Joe" in December that year.

He died in London in September 1970 aged 27. An inquest recorded an open verdict on his death, caused by suffocating on his vomit after an overdose of sleeping pills.

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