Blue plaques celebrate Forest Gate's links to Jimi Hendrix and De Underground Records

London, UK.26th May 2021.Blue Plaque marking the site where Jimi Hendrix wrote His hit song, Purpl

L-R: Lloyd Jeans, Neandra Etienne and Paul Romane with the Newham Heritage plaque commemorating the location of the Upper Cut Club in Forest Gate where Jimi Hendrix wrote Purple Haze. - Credit: Andrew Baker

Plaques have gone up to mark where Jimi Hendrix penned a musical "masterpiece" and an underground recording studio had its home.

Hendrix's song Purple Haze was completed in London on Boxing Day in 1966 in the dressing room of the Upper Cut Club in Forest Gate.

The once star-filled venue has since been demolished, but Neandra Etienne - who lives in the borough - campaigned to have the location memorialised with a plaque in Woodgrange Road.

Neandra said: "I am so happy the Newham heritage plaque has been installed because everyone will know Jimi Hendrix has a connection to Newham."

Hendrix’s brother Leon joined in celebrations to commemorate the plaque's unveiling, giving an online talk live from his home in the USA.

London, UK.26th May 2021.Blue Plaque marking the site where Jimi Hendrix wrote His hit song, Purpl

The blue plaque is in Woodgrange Road. - Credit: Andrew Baker

Historian Lloyd Jeans said: "In this song, Jimi Hendrix used the chord of E7 - as is appropriate for Forest Gate - but to give it a striking dissonance he added a sharp ninth on top.

"So influential is this masterpiece of rock music that the chord is now known the world over as the Purple Haze chord."

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Cllr Winston Vaughan, who chairs Newham Council and is one of Forest Gate South ward's councillors, said: "My colleagues and I are delighted to have this plaque in our ward."

Uncle 22 beneath the De Underground Records plaque in Sebert Road, Forest Gate

Uncle 22 beneath the De Underground Records plaque in Sebert Road, Forest Gate. - Credit: K J Martin

A second plaque also now marks the spot in Sebert Road, Forest Gate, which De Underground Records called home from 1991 to 1996.

Run by Mike De Underground, DJ Randall, Cool Hand Flex and Uncle 22, the shop and its labels were responsible for releases including Lennie De Ice’s jungle track We Are I.E.

Together the DJs and producers linked with the shop were influential in the development and dissemination of jungle, hardcore and drum and bass.

De Underground Records itself was born out of a drive by its owners to record and get home-grown UK talent noticed in the face of then US dominance of the dance-music scene.

Uncle 22, Katherine Green and Chef with De Underground Record's plaque

L-R: Uncle 22, Katherine Green of the social history community interest company Rendezvous Projects and DJ Chef with De Underground Record's plaque. - Credit: K J Martin

On the plaque's unveiling, Uncle 22 - whose real name is Desmond Fearon - said: "I still can't believe it. It's nuts. It's amazing.

"Thank you to Newham for recognising us and what we did in that little cubby hole of a shop. It's something to show your kids and grandkids."

Both plaques were raised at the end of Newham Heritage Month, which included a project devised by Rendezvous Projects, capturing oral history interviews with key figures in De Underground Records.

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