Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jimi's Pink Strat, a convoluted provenance involving Moving Sidewalks, 13th Floor Elevators, ZZ Tops and some mild chicanery of the thieving kind.

It all started with an innocent footnote to that lovely painting of Jimi on peaceswirl's Flickr page. It was there that I said,

"Paul, thanks for the story that fills in some blanks on that pink Strat (and of course thanks PeaceSwirl for another cool painting - you should put it up on

I actually published a black-and-white old publicity photo of Jimi with the Sidewalks in an issue of Guitar WORLD. Don't remember if it was the Unpublished Hendrix special issue, the Hendrix Lives special issue, or the one with Billy on the cover where John Peden and I did a really cool photo odyssey of all Billy's axes -- I'll have to dig that up. But I do have it somewhere.

So this is the story Paul Macrae told about the Pink Strat:

It's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now, but it's had a number of adventures. Legend has it that this guitar was a gift from Jimi to Billy Gibbons back in 1970. Before Z Z Top BG played in a band named The Moving Sidewalks and they opened for Hendrix on his last tour.

Obviously this guitar was one of Gibbons' prized possessions, but at some point it was stolen. In 1976 ZZ Top took a break from touring and recording. It was when they returned to the public eye in 1979 that they first showed their long beards.

During their time in seclusion they found it easy to move anonymously in public because of the beards. One night Gibbons was hanging out in a local bar here in my neighborhood watching the weekly blues jam when he noticed Jimi's Pink guitar being played up on the stage.

So when the group had finished their set Gibbons approached the guitar player, not as himself, but as Joe nobody with a long beard, and made an offer on the guitar. Of course he didn't mention that the guitar once belonged to Jimi Hendrix either.

$150 dollars later he walked out with Jimi's pink guitar in tow.

Guitar World recently celebrated its 300th issue with this look back at all 300 covers:

Hold the presses! I did locate the issue in question - it was Sept. '85, the Hendrix tribute, and the photo spread on the pink Strat is right here:

Jimi-Pink Strat-GW-Sept.85.jpg
Originally uploaded by Doctor Noe

and now on my Flickr page here: GW-Sept.85-Hendrix.jpg

How do ya like that, flickr people.

Now you'll want to go to my latest addition to my Flickr page here for more of the story:
Jimi-Pink Strat-GW-Sept.85.jpg

Now that I've done all that, might as well put it all up on my blog (

All best,

Noe the G
Founding Editor of Guitar World

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