Jimi Hendrix covered 'Sergeant Pepper's' just two days after its release—and the Beatles were in the audience!
The Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was released on 1 June 1967. It was not that well received by some contemporaries and fans, and Ray Davies of The Kinks said in his comment about it: “I’m sure the Beatles don’t care if the songs don’t appeal to their fans. [They] will say 'We did it for ourselves.'”
But Jimi Hendrix was a huge fan of the Beatles, and he bought 'Sergeant Pepper's' the day of its release. Two days later, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their last show in Britain, at London’s Saville Theatre, before heading off to America.
Not knowing the Beatles were in attendance, Hendrix opened the show with his own rendition of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“. He rehearsed it only minutes before taking the stage.
The Beatles were astonished, but also delighted! Paul McCartney had the following to say of his memory of that performance: “Jimi opened, the curtains flew back and he came walking forward, playing 'Sergeant Pepper', and it had only been released on the Thursday before, so that was like the ultimate compliment. It's still obviously a shining memory for me, because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished.”