When I was a teenager, Jimi Hendrix was the epitome of cool. He played the guitar backwards, sometimes with his mouth, and always made it wail.
I was learning to play the guitar then, but most of my young musical life was taken up by learning to play the accordion.
Nobody in rock in those days played the accordion. Myron Floren played the accordion. And he was in the Lawrence Welk orchestra.
But the accordion has managed to become hip these days in so-called “alternative” popular music. I think the word “alternative” is a synonym for “not-so-popular.”
But that’s besides the point. What’s impressive now to me is that people who apparently have no idea how to play the accordion, strap one on, and pretend to play on stage, or play just a note of two with their right hand while moving the bellows in and out.
I get the feeling that for them, the accordion’s contribution to the music is more visual that aural.
And that an accordion in the band confers a level of ultra-coolness, or perhaps, extreme “alternative-ness”, without completely going bonkers by doing something really foolish, like, for example, playing the banjo.
One of my favorite jokes: What’s the definition of perfect pitch? It’s throwing an accordion in a dumpster and having it land on a banjo.
I say this while growing a new-found appreciation for the accordion, which I still play.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Yes, there is a point. The other day I came across the following photo-shopped still of a Jimi Hendrix playing an accordion.
Sure, it’s not real. But it got me thinking about what Jimi Hendrix’s music would have been like if instead of bending the strings on a Fender strat, he’d been squeezing the bellows of a 5-reed, 120-bass Scandalli.
Here’s a list of the five greatest hits of the accordionist Jimi Hendrix:
- Polka Haze
- The Wind Cries Lazy Mary
- Voodoo Child Chicken Dance
- Are You Experienced Wearing Lederhosen?
- Foxy Lady of Spain