Artist News Deals Legal

Long disputed Hendrix recordings to be released

By | Published on Friday 18 July 2014

Jimi Hendrix

Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings is set to release a number of early Jimi Hendrix tracks after the conclusion of a legal dispute that lasted nearly five decades.

The disputed recordings were made between 1965 and 1967, many featuring Hendrix playing on records made by Curtis Knight & The Squires. The recordings were instigated by a label called PPX International run by producer Ed Chalpin, who famously signed Hendrix and Knight to an infamous one-pound-advance-one-percent-royalty deal.

The arrangement caused issues within a couple of years as Hendrix’s career started to take off, and PPX and its business partners started to put out versions of the recordings that heavily implied – through title or artwork – that the records were by the legendary guitarist, rather than them just featuring his guitar playing on the side. Hendrix was not impressed.

But, whereas his manager had managed to buy Hendrix out of most of the dodgy contracts he’d signed before his rise to fame, the PPX deal remained. Though the guitarist’s people did manage to block at least one of the re-releases of the Curtis Knight recordings in the UK.

Then, decades later, in 2001 the Hendrix Estate won a legal battle, again in the London courts, enforcing a 1973 decree which limited PPX’s ownership of recordings featuring Hendrix to just 33 masters made in 1965, rather than the larger catalogue of tracks put down in the following couple of years.

Further legal wranglings followed, with a London appeals court and New York State Court both upholding that ruling (the latter after Hendrix’s brother Leon, not affiliated with the Estate-owned Experience Hendrix company, partnered with PPX on a planned release of the tapes). Then, in 2007, Experience Hendrix secured a $900,000 court order against Chaplin.

But it’s seemingly taken until now to finally iron everything out. The long disputed master recordings are now in the hands of the Hendrix company, and it has partnered with the Sony catalogue label to enable a series of remastered releases, which will be directed by long-time Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer.