Legacy Recordings Gets Rights To Early Hendrix Masters

Legacy Recordings & Experience Hendrix LLC Get Rights To Early Jimi Hendrix Masters

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Sony‘s Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix LLC have won the rights to 88 studio and live recordings produced between 1965 and 1967 featuring a young Jimi Hendrix during his time with Curtis Knight & The Squires. The news follows years of litigation between Experience Hendrix LLC and previous rights holder Ed Chalpin. A recent article from Billboard explains the finer points of the relationship between Hendrix and Chalpin as well as the details of the dispute:

Ed Chalpin was an entrepreneur, record producer and founder of music company PPX International. Having been introduced to Hendrix by Curtis Knight, in 1965 Chalpin signed Jimi (then “Jimmy”) Hendrix and Curtis Knight & The Squires to a notorious three-year recording contract for the princely sum of $1.00 and a 1% royalty rate.

Just before Hendrix went to England and became a global solo star, his manager, Chas Chandler, bought out every contract that his client had previously signed, with the exception of Hendrix’s 1965 agreement with PPX. It would prove a costly oversight and became the source of a long-running legal dispute.

In 2001, Experience Hendrix LLC filed a lawsuit in the British High Court against Chalpin and PPX Enterprises to enforce a 1973 decree, which limited Chalpin’s rights in Hendrix recordings to 33 masters largely recorded in 1965 when the guitarist was performing with Curtis Knight & The Squires.

That lawsuit was upheld in July 2002 with a London High Court order which stated: “Ed Chalpin / PPX Enterprises Inc. must not issue or release recordings on which Jimi Hendrix performed in any capacity whatsoever (other than 33 songs with Jimi Hendrix as a sideman).”

A New York State Court upheld the U.K. court’s decision in 2003. Several years later, in 2007, Experience Hendrix LLX obtained a stipulated court order of almost $900,000 against Ed Chalpin.

Today’s announcement marks the end of the lengthy legal dispute with all 88 tracks recorded by Curtis Knight & The Squires featuring Jimi Hendrix now under complete ownership and control of Experience Hendrix LLC.

The decision in favor of Experience Hendrix LLC grants them complete ownership and control of the recordings. Terms of the agreement between the aforementioned parties have not been disclosed. The effort to give these recordings a proper release continues despite Hendrix’s personal disdain for the early recordings, as detailed in a recent piece from Rolling Stone:

Hendrix was not a fan of these recordings. In February 1968, Capitol issued a record called Jimi Hendrix Plays, Curtis Knight Sings, which Rolling Stone called “an embarrassment” at the time. An A&R man for the label told RS at the time that “the record’s selling well, and nobody is bitching but a few San Francisco types.” One month later, British record label Decca attempted to put out a Curtis Knight record titled Got That Feeling, featuring Hendrix as the lead member of the group on the jacket, but its release was barred by the London High Court. Hendrix called the record “musically worthless…a confetti of tapes hastily thrown together.”

The reissues from Legacy Recordings will be overseen by Jimi Hendrix’s sound engineer Eddie Kramer and released over the next three years. The releases will include a live 1965 performance at George’s Club 20 in Hackensack, New Jersey as well as remastered 1967 Squires studio recordings featuring Hendrix.

Spotted at BB & RS.

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