"Finding a live recording with both Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix is akin to discovering a musical holy grail": now one is up for auction

RR Auction
(Image credit: RR Auction)

Jimi Hendrix was an unknown 22-year-old guitarist when he was part of Little Richard's backing band at Boston's Back Bay Theatre – then known as the Donnelly Theatre – on 12 May, 1965. Now a recently discovered recording of that night is up for bidding by RR Auction in Boston with an estimate value of $40,000+.

Hendrix was briefly part of Little Richard's backing band, The Upsetters, and the recording was engineered by Boston radio personality Little Walter DeVenne on a Scotch 190 reel-to-reel tape at 7.5 IPS. And it remained in DeVenne's personal archives ever since until its recent discovery.

"Hearing Jimi Hendrix attack the opening chords of I Saw Her Standing There makes your hair stand up," says Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President at RR Auction. "Finding a live recording with both Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix is akin to discovering a musical holy grail."

The set features a mix of rock n' roll standards including Richards' take on Lucille and Shake A Hand, as well as hits from the Beatles

There are few known live recordings of the pre-fame Hendrix. At the time of the recording, he had only recently joined Little Richard's band after leaving the Isley Brothers band. His tenure ended up short-lived due to reported disagreements over Hendrix's spotlight-stealing stage antics and pay. 

RR Auction

(Image credit: RR Auction)

As well as a 'psychedelic' sketch by Hendrix, RR Auction's lots also include a rare abstract painting of animals and musical notes by Bob Dylan from around 1968, when he lived in Woodstock, New York following his infamous motorcycle accident and The Basement Tapes recordings with The Band.

"Significantly, the painting includes a red outline of a man wearing a brimmed hat, echoing Dylan's self-stylization during the era, reminiscent of his appearance on the Nashville Skyline album cover," notes RR Auction. "The palette is alive with bright yellows, corals, and oranges, contrasted against a backdrop of earthy greens and browns. This piece is signed discreetly on the reverse 'Bob Dylan', confirming its authenticity."

RR Auction

(Image credit: RR Auction)

At the time of writing, bids for the painting had reached $129,690. See more here, and follow the Hendrix bids here

The auction, set to end on 23 May, also features autographs by The Beatles and stage-used memorabilia from Prince's final tour.

More info at www.rrauction.com

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.