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'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix
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'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  676 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Jimi Hendrix's explosion onto the rock and roll scene is one of the most remarkable legends in music history.  Fusing blues, jazz, and outrageous psychdelia, Hendrix scored multitudes of devoted fans with his frenzied, irreverent guitar playing, singing, and song-writing. And at the age of twenty-seven, when his private nightmares caught up with his dreams, he died in a to ...more
Paperback, 411 pages
Published December 1st 1982 by Bantam (first published 1981)
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East Bay J
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-bios
This was the first Hendrix bio I ever read, long, long ago. I remember finding it difficult to get through and this time around was no different. Greil Marcus called 'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky, 'The strongest and most ambitious biography yet written about any rock and roll performer,' which I can't agree with but, if you ask me, says a lot about a lot of things.

Henderson can definitely write but I think he could have used some heavy editing. He repeats himself, he jumps around like a little
...more
Dave
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Henderson is a poet and a writer and knew Hendrix. He starts the book off with Hendrix's death which was very stark and graphic BUT I would have still stuck that at the end of the book.
Otherwise, the book was an enjoyable read in that being written by a poet it was way more descriptive and less journalistic then most biographies. Henderson nails the imagery of every song that Hendrix was playing live in concert or in the studio though the book is pretty heavy on the live work.
Henderson nail
...more
Christopher
I read David Henderson's biography of Jimi Hendrix for the first time in the summer of 1986, when I became obsessed with Hendrix's music. I would often listen to my Hendrix albums while reading, picking up contexts along the way. For years it was a touchstone book for me--I picked it up frequently, and it was a primary reference for his life and music.

This is a freeform, full-color, psychedelic portrayal of Hendrix, dropping lyrics, setting moods, trying to capture Hendrix's elusive soul. It's i
...more
Christy
while this a very good book for those interested in Hendrix, I have to admit, I was appalled at the amount of detail put into describing his death. It almost seems a mockery. i have read a few other books on hendrix, and was disappointed, again, to find that all of the books had very different "facts" regarding things in and about his life and family.
J.C.
Oct 04, 2007 rated it did not like it
don't even bother.
Paul Lyons
Poet, musician, and college professor David Henderson took an unusual approach to the too short life of the greatest guitarist who ever lived: James Marshall Hendrix. Rather than compose a "just-the-facts, ma'm" narrative approach, Henderson choose to paint his own picture of Jimi Hendrix's life through a mixture of imagination, poetic license...and yes, actual, well-researched facts and quotations. As a result, "'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix" is mixed bad of good, bad ...more
Randolph
Informative, though not always well written biography about the greatest rock guitarist ever. While I found it quite interesting, the author has an irksome habit of jumping from place-to-place or event without any segue at all. Further he commits the cardinal writing sin of switching tenses throughout the book. Any good writer learns in high school that this is a no-no!
The writer is also prone to conspiracy theories. First and foremost is his assertion that Hendrix was murdered rather than the g
...more
mydianne
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent biography, this may be the best one on Hendrix. It covers his entire life and is well researched, especially his childhood and young life before fame. The only weakness is the the later part of his life, which is not as detailed. I wish the author had extended his exhaustive research into the how Jimi's creativity was evolving near the end, and the actual cause of his suspicious death.
Brian H
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The life of Jimi Hendrix is often misinterpreted, misunderstood and glazed over by false cliches. “Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” by David Henderson is the only full story of Hendrix’s extraordinary life. Jimi was born with fireworks in the back round, his father raised him and really let him do his own thing. To Jimi, his guitar wasn’t just an instrument to him, it was a friend, and sometimes, his only friend. Jimi joined the army, but never went to war. His army companions thought he was very ...more
Steven Herod
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henderson takes us on a trip through some very notable moments of the Hendrix’s life. The narrations are often so detailed that it feels as if we are present in the same room witnessing the events and conversations (private and otherwise) that transpires. While it would be difficult to validate the details and mood of many of these moments or to identify any liberties that potentially could be taken, it is clear that Henderson has compiled countless hours of research to paint his picture. Beginn ...more
Alison
Oct 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
David Henderson brings you right there with James every step of the way you get so soaked in you almost forget about what's coming in the end. I think everyone should really understand Jimi Hendrix and all the pain he endured and love he had to give. Especially his love for his guitar, his soul and music as a whole. He was a deep man with many issues and isn't some crack head with a guitar who made a coupld catchy tunes. He's a symbol for oppression in america having to make his debut in britian ...more
Annette Oliver
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any Jimi fan
Recommended to Annette by: the library
This is the second book I've ever read, so this book came out before 1983. I was never much of a book reader unless it was a biography or music oriented. I was almost 15 when I read this book and I always did love the Jimi Hendrix Experience even when I was younger. I have read a few more books about Jimi's life since then but this book paved the way for me to read more biographies. Some people's first book was like "That Was Then, This Is Now" or "On The Road" or "The Outsiders". Not me. I wish ...more
Xavier Irizarry
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hendrix's life was full of ups and downs. 'Scuse me While I Kiss The Sky follows everything from is birth to his untimely death. The story follows him to his beginning in local clubs in the US and to his epic concerts in England. He started playing guitar when he was a young adult and with determination made it to the top. Jimi met famous bands and guitarists during his journey and even made friendships with some. Even though he had some bad habits he balanced them out with his good ones. I woul ...more
Greg
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
While my hardcover version of this book has a much cooler cover than the one pictured it's notable that this book has been published in 1978, 1981 and again in 2008. Author David Henderson explores the night Jimi died and his death in gruesome detail with some possible theories on how he died. Henderson, a member of an influential group of poets and writers driving the Black Arts Movement explores the issue of race in Hendrix music and his life. Interesting viewpoint taken by the author and a we ...more
David Ward
'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix by David Henderson (Bantam 1981) (Biography). Jimi Hendrix revolutionized the world of the electric guitar. He was adjudged to be the first man to be able to harness feedback and control it as part of his playing. This is his biography from his childhood in Seattle through his death by drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven. My rating: 7/10, finished 1983.
Shawn
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hendrix was a musical genius on the guitar, but a sad story of a dysfunctional childhood that many can't shake; a story of again how power corrupts as Hendrixgets out of control with his LSD use. The book has too many meaningless documentation of Hendrix talking nonsense. The author is too poetic in his descrpition of Hendrix's songs for my liking.
HeavyReader
Jul 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to HeavyReader by: huge fans of Jimi Hendrix
I started reading this book during a drug study more than a year ago. I got about halfway through it and gave up. I figured that if I hadn't finished it in a year, I never would. So now I am offering to give it away on BookMooch.

I don't know how, but the author made Jimi Hendrix's life seem kind of boring.
David Burke
Liked it, very informative on the FACTS section but....massively flowery descriptions of songs, Jimis staccatto, dive bomb whammy bar. blah blah blah. Skipped that. Also too many interviews included where Jimi was obviously ripped to the gills. And we are to believe that he DIDNT die of an overdose? ...more
Diener
Sep 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, music
I read this book when I was a HUGE Hendrix fan. I have always been interested in learning more about the work ethic of artists, athletes, and politicians. Henderson does a great job describing Hendrix's work ethic, taking readers inside the recording studios for marathon sessions with this uber-talented musician.
Brad
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Apart from being a thorough biography, the music is described in both musicological terms and with passionate sensory/imagic descriptions set in their performance contexts. The narrative of Hendrix' life is told within that of racial politics/experience in the US and England. Insightful and provides an ethnographic sense of being there.
Dave Hofer
Mar 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Too many masturbatory descriptions of songs, lyrics, and live shows, like "Jimi's guitar then explodes with color, shining a beautiful light over the stoned crowd, awing them with its majesty."

I just made that up, but you get the idea.

I easily skipped about a quarter of this book just by passing over these inane descriptions.
Cauleen
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best bio on my man Jimi because the challenges he faced as a black man are integrated into the narrative of the music he created. Most Jimi fans insist on ignoring race in the arc of this life and music. This writer makes a lot of things up, but the emotional/social/political core is dead on.
Scott
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I read this a few times while still in high school... I became obsessed with Hendrix... I can still appreciate his talent and his brilliance, but no longer feel the need to read biographies of musicians @ this time...
David Carr
Jul 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
I gave up at page 100. David Henderson keeps making his own conclusions and gives his own personal view on both music and facts.
The book also starts off with Davids speculations about Jimis death being a conspiracy.
I'll read "Room full of mirrors" instead
Ron
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first Hendrix bio I ever read. It may not be the best one but given when it was written and the information available at that time, it is a really good book.

Definitely worth reading.
Roy
Jun 20, 2016 added it
a very personal view on Jimi from Hendersons point of view , not always accurate or truthful . Getting inside Jimi s head and surmising what he thought
Zohra Star
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazing!
Kris
I great read: witty, funny, interesting.
An insight into the life of a genius!
Susan
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at the Calgary airport and I can't put it down. I love anything Jimi!
Daniel
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A long time ago, in a studio far away, there lived a God.... A fun read!
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