The crucial day is a Friday. More precisely: September 23, 1966. 180 passengers gathered at the departure gate of New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, a few moments later they boarded a Boeing 707. Among the passengers were two young men: 27-year-old Englishman Brian James "Chas" Chandler and 23-year-old American James Marshall Hendrix, who will soon call himself Jimi. For them, Pan Am flight 102 to London is associated with the launch of a mission. They want to change the world of music.
Touchdown at the Thames
After a transatlantic flight without any special incidents, the plane lands on the runway at London's Heathrow airport the following morning at around nine o'clock. While Hendrix and Chandler first have to deal with the customs authorities, who demand a residence permit from the American, which he doesn't possess (Chandler solves the problem with a white lie), some of the most important protagonists of the London scene still roll around in the sheets.
The Rolling Stones, for example. The night before they started a tour of England at the Royal Albert Hall, just in time for the release of their new single "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? They were surprised to discover that a whole new generation of teenagers had appeared on the scene or in front of the stage. What's clear is that a new audience needs new sensations!
In addition to Ike & Tina Turner, who will be guesting in England for the first time and who have just made their top 5 debut in the Kingdom with "River Deep, Mountain High" (which, however, is only due to Tina), the Yardbirds have also appeared in the supporting programme of the show. The latter met an Italian filmmaker named Michelangelo Antonioni backstage, who hires them for his planned film project "Blow-Up". The Yardbirds are only the second best solution for him, originally he wanted to engage The Who, the most spectacular live act of the Thames city at that time. Their manager Kit Lambert, however, made too high financial demands for the participation of his protégés.
Hendrix doesn't know anything about all this, of course. But Chandler knows the structures and sensitivities of the manageable London scene only too well. From this he draws the conclusion that the success of his protégé can lead only over the In-Crowd, which has the say in the hierarchically strictly ordered world of English pop. He's gonna make Hendrix the talk of the town.
Accordingly, Chandler proceeds purposefully. As soon as they have left the airport building, they make their way to Zoot Money. The organist is one of the key figures of the London R'n'B scene, head of the Big Roll Band and a close friend of John Mayall, Alexis Korner and Graham Bond. His house on Gunterstone Road, Fulham, serves as a hostel for young musicians, while his guitarist, 23-year-old Andy Summers, currently lives in the basement. Chandler's visit proves to be momentous - even before Hendrix spends his first night in London, the course is set: Money invites the young American to an evening jam session at the Scotch of St. James. Jimi will take this opportunity to meet 20-year-old Kathy Etchingham, who is also a resident of Money's house. She is the girl with whom he will have the closest relationship of his life for the next few years.