HENDRIX: ‘How I helped to make Jimi Hendrix a rock’n’roll star’

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Linda-Keith--010

Linda Keith lent a young blues player a guitar belonging to her boyfriend, Keith Richards – and the rest is history. In a rare interview, she tells her story

Rock'n'roll has had many pivotal moments, but few are as clear cut as when Linda Keith, a 20-year-old British Vogue model and blues fanatic, lent a virtually unknown Jimi Hendrix a white Fender Stratocaster, the instrument that would become forever entwined with the guitarist's legendary and unsurpassed technique.

One person rightfully aggrieved by this gesture was the guitar's owner and Linda's boyfriend of three years, Keith Richards. Richards, then on the Rolling Stones' 1966 tour of the US, wasn't going to get his guitar or his striking, dark-haired girlfriend back – she had made it her mission to launch Hendrix's career. But he and Brian Jones did write the song Ruby Tuesday about her – "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday/ Who could hang a name on you?/ When you change with every new day/ Still I'm gonna miss you" – and described Linda tenderly as "the one that first broke my heart".

And what of the guitar? At the time, Hendrix's own was in .....

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