Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner

Hendrix at Woodstock, August 18, 1969

Watching the new Jimi Hendrix documentary on PBS, I was struck once again how apposite his searing, howling, distortion- and feedback-laced performance of the national anthem was at Woodstock in 1969. What was greeted then as a tasteless and unpatriotic insult to America now appears in retrospect as the only honest way it could have be played at that time of convulsive upheaval in the U.S. and around the world. The 60s were a time of explosive energy, both "positive" and "negative," and Jimi's Star Spangled Banner fused it all together into what can only be understood from this vantage point as a thing of ballsy beauty.

Watch the performance here.


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