In the famous British Bag O' Nails club, where rock royalty regularly threw back copious cocktails, patrons got a taste of something seeringly new on November 25, 1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Jimi, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding took over the DJ booth and promptly blew people's minds. "Hendrix captivated, dazzled and occasionally startled the listeners," reads the club's website. "It is now regarded as one of the most important breakthrough performances of all time."
Rock's elite musicians who flocked to the famous watering hole included Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, The Hollies, and The Small Faces.
It was also here where Paul first met Linda.
As told to Barry Miles in Many Years from Now, Paul McCartney recalls his first meeting with his future wife: "The night I met Linda I was in the Bag O'Nails watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set," said McCartney. "Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage."
"The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, 'Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How're you doing?' I introduced myself, and said, 'We're going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'
"That was my big pulling line! Well, I'd never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we'll go on. How shall we do it?' I forget how we did it. 'You come in our car' or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy."*
Located at 9 Kingly Street in London, the club owners have kept the DJ booth exactly as it was when Hendrix played in it, and it is still in use today. The current ‘façade’ and interior is a nod to its musical heyday and to the wealth of rock music legends who used to frequent the club. It definitely sounds like a place worth visiting for a cocktail and a trip down memory lane.
*Thanks to Barry Mills for the Paul McCartney quote.