40 years after Woodstock, collectors are keeping Hendrix's legacy alive

Today it's incredible to think that one man and a guitar could create one of the greatest symbols of the 1960s era.

But that's exactly what Jimi Hendrix did in the early hours of Monday morning, August 18, 1969, finally taking the stage on the final morning of the Woodstock music festival.

The Seattle-born guitarist appeared before a dwindled crowd - 180,000 down from 500,000 - many of whom had stayed just to catch a glimpse of the legendary guitarist.

Before the diminished audience, Hendrix would single-handedly establish one of the most important pieces of his own legacy - which on today's memorabilia markets saw his autograph increase in value by 397.5% in the last 10 years.

Fronting an expanded six-piece version of his usual three-piece Experience band - which Hendrix introduced as "Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, for short it's nothin' but 'A Band Of' Gypsies'" - the group played funked-up versions of their best-known tunes, such as Machine Gun.

But, this being 1969, it was an impromptu improvised piece that would steal the show; a "song" performance that is still talked about 40 years later...

While the Band of Gypsy's remained silent, Hendrix tore into his own version of the United States' Star Spangled Banner - a moment that is today regarded as one of the most important in 20th century music and of the iconic late-1960s hippie era.

Collectors and investors still marvel at the performance nearly half a century later, and this has translated to success on the auction block at numerous memorabilia sales in recent years.

Big sales have included the auctioning of a Fender Stratocaster, famously burned at the end of Hendrix's show in North London in 1967. It was purchased by a collector for £280,000 ($320,000) at Christie's in 2006.


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