SavageWatch - Music Suspicious Deaths, Murder and Unsolved Crime

Was Jimi Hendrix a Victim of Foul Play?

In the world of music there have been many guitar gunslingers: Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana but none has changed the way rock guitar was played by Jimi Hendirx. Hendrix rose to fame in the late sixties after being taken to England where he met and wowed British audiences. On his initial trip there, Hendrix wanted to meet Eric Clapton, a player who he much admired. After seeing the American perform, it was Clapton who became the huge fan. Hendrix who return to the United States and recorded songs “Purple Haze”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “Voodo Chile” and “Foxey Lady”.

The guitarist was an unusual sight to see, a black man playing rock music which was generally for a white audience. Still his performances of smashing guitars and even lighting them on fire made a Hendrix performance one to remember. Fame brought women, money and a bad crowd to Hendrix. Drugs were commonly used by him. He would sometimes douse his headband with LSD before he would play in some concerts. There were rumors of people practicing Black Magic and voodoo that he would associate with. Perhaps the most dangerous of all these people Hendrix associated with was the one person who should have been looking out for him the most; His manager Michael Jeffery. Jeffrey was a shrewd business man and was alleged to have connections to Organized Crime. Hendrix died on the 18th September in 1970 at the Samarkand Hotel in London. A coroner investigation revealed that his cause of death as barbiturate intoxication and inhalation of vomit. It was believed that the singer had mistakenly overdosed on sleeping pills and worsened it by drinking alcohol. This was the cause and manner of death that was acceptable to London Authorities.

There has always been controversy regarding Jimi’s death. His girlfriend of just a few days, Monika Danneman had been accused by some in Hendrix’s inner circle of negligence in the guitarists death. Some surmise that if she had only propped his head up, he may not have choked to death. The allegations would haunt Danneman for the rest of her life. She even wrote a book about her time with Hendrix but at the age of 50 she was found dead in a fume filled car in East Sussex in Britain. The manner of death was a suicide. Danneman was not the only one of Hendirx’s girlfriend to die in a controversial manner. Devon Wilson died from a fall at the Chelsea hotel in New York City in February of 1971. Theories abound about Wilson’s death in which some claim that she may been “assisted” in falling to the ground. There were also rumors that Hendrix overdosed on purpose and wanted to kill himself. Eric Burdon of the rock group the Animals went on BBC television saying that the guitar player had committed suicide. But there were also rumors of murder. Former bandmate from Hendrix’s backing group, “The Band of Gypsies” Billy Cox had a nervous breakdown during an overseas tour. Cox was convinced that some people were out to kill him. He eventually left the band and mentally recovered. But was he right, was someone trying to get him and his army buddy, Hendrix? It would seem that maybe Cox was right indeed when nearly 40 years later, a book by Jame “Tappy” Wright would give a manner of death and a name of the person that killed Jimi Hendrix. The guitarists manager, Michael Jeffrey. It is alleged that Jeffrey got Hendrix boozed up with alcohol and forced the pills down the artist's throat. The theory behind this is because Hendrix was planning on leaving Jeffrey for new management. With Hendrix dead, Michael Jeffrey would cash in on a life insurance claim for the guitarist. Years later fall victim to the Grim Reaper himself when he died in a mid air collision plane crash in 1973.

The Questionable Suicide of Donny Hathaway

Best known for his duets with Rhythm and blues diva Roberta Flack, Hathaway was a respected artist in his own right. Like many of the R & B artists of his day, Hathaway got his start singing gospel. Unlike many of the other singers of his day, the Chicago born singer achieved a college education at Howard University in Washington DC. He came into his own with popular songs including the themesong for the early 70’s popular show, “Maude.” He was a highly sought after producer and had other artists perform songs that he penned. His two duets with Roberta Flack, “Where is the Love” and “The Closer I Get To You” were the two songs that made the top ten charts. “Where is the Love” even earned hi a coveted Grammy award.

Despite the musical success, his personal life was one of turmoil. Throughout the seventies, the singer had battled through periods of depression. There were reports that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was on presciption medication. At the time of his death his estranged wife said that he had been hospitalized in 1972 on different occasions and stated that “He was troubled” and had a hard time with his quick success and the anxiety it caused.

On January 1979, Hathaway's body was found on the roof of the second floor of the Essex House Hotel at 160 Central Park South in New York City. He had just returned to his room after having dinner with Roberta Flack. There was careful examination of the window of the fifteenth floor room where he was staying. According to the New York Police Department, the door was bolted shut and there were no visitors present at the time of his death. This coupled with Hathaway’s history of mental illness made police rule the manner of death as a suicide. While some people thought he could have fallen by accident, his history of mental illness heavily clouded their decision. There were no signs of any struggle inside the room or on Hathaway’s body. However, his friends and family were puzzled. Hathaway’s career was still going strong. Some internet forum posters have expressed their own opinion that Hathway was a victim of foul play because of disagreement with record industry executives. Afterall, in most suicides, the despondent usually leave a note or a final goodbye. He had several children, including then ten year old Lala Hathaway (who had her own successful music career ). Roberta Flack was devastated by his death and the funeral was officiated by the Reverend Jessie Jackson. Hathaway was thirty-three years old.

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