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Through Gypsy Eyes: My Life, the Sixties and Jimi Hendrix Hardcover – 20 Aug 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Victor Gollancz; First Edition, First Impression edition (20 Aug. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575066199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575066199
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 742,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathleen Mary "Kathy" Etchingham (born 1946) is a British/Irish personality known from the Swinging London music scene of the 1960s. She was born in Derby and was the daughter of Charles Etchingham, an Irishman who was originally from Dublin.

Her mother deserted the family when Kathy was ten years old and Kathy was sent to the Holy Faith convent boarding school in Skerries, Dublin. After returning to England, having been snatched from the convent by her mother, Kathy eventually made her way to London.

She fell in with the nascent music scene and was a DJ at the Cromwellian Club in Kensington and then at the Scotch of St. James club. She knew the up and coming musicians of the period including Brian Jones, The Animals, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Moody Blues, The Move, and many others. These became known as the "British Invasion" in the USA of the 1960s.

She met Jimi Hendrix on the day of his arrival in London in September 1966.
They became a couple during the time of his rise to stardom.
Kathy was the inspiration for many of Hendrix' compositions including The Wind Cries Mary (penned after an argument between Hendrix and Etchingham), Foxy Lady (during one of the first performances of this number Hendrix embarrassingly pointed her out from the stage), as the Katherina in 1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) and in Send My Love to Linda (the original lyrics of which were Send My Love to Kathy until Etchingham objected to being named).
They lived together at the Hyde Park Towers Hotel, Upper Berkeley Street, 34 Montagu Square, Marylebone and then 23 Brook Street, Mayfair.

In 1969 she and Hendrix drifted apart. She married her first husband and left the music scene.

Her first marriage broke up and she later remarried and had a family.

In 1997 she was instrumental in the erection of an English Heritage Blue Plaque for Jimi Hendrix' home at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair.

In 1998 she wrote a book Through Gypsy Eyes, with Andrew Crofts, about her life, the sixties and Jimi Hendrix. The book was republished as an eBook in 2012.

Her website is www.kathyetchingham.com

Product Description

From the Author

Through gypsy eyes - a view of the sixties.
I'm glad to see that "Through Gypsy Eyes" has been well received. When it was first suggested that I should write this book I was in two minds about it. It was the urging of Howard Marks and Chas Chandler that finally convinced me. In the end the book is, as you will see, about the whole sixties scene in London. I hope it gives an insight into what it was like to live through those times.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Finally, here is a book that embodies the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, told by the person who knew Jimi more intimately than anyone during his rise to stardom.
If you are unsure about whose version of events you can believe regarding the life of Jimi Hendrix, Ms. Etchingham removes all doubt in the span of about 200 pages. At the very least, she clarifies Jimi's lifestyle during his time in London astonishingly well. Of course, the added bonus in this book is its readability; I dare you to put this book down for more than five minutes once you have read about Ms. Etchingham's childhood. In the space of about two hours, not counting a brief dinner break, I read this book from front to back.
"Through Gypsy Eyes" serves several purposes. This book is almost like a postscript to Tony Brown's indispensable book, "Hendrix: The Final Days." But only the last few chapters deal with Jimi's death and the events that have occurred since 1970. Much of Ms. Etchingham's book deals with her time with Jimi, though she sets the stage using her own childhood as the hook that makes you want to keep reading. You can't stop reading because you're just praying that Kathy's life turned out all right, when all along you know that it must have turned out well if she wound up with Jimi.
"Through Gypsy Eyes" is extremely engaging and easy to read. I got engrossed in this book from the first few sentences, and the intangible storytelling skill kept me glued to every page. Reading about Jimi and Kathy's evening at Eric Clapton's house cracked me up, as did every mention of Paul McCartney or John Lennon or Keith Moon.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MR K J WRENCH on 16 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
A touching memoir of one woman's experiences with one of the iconic figures of 1960's popular culture and her quest to have a 'Blue Plaque' erected in recognition of his musical genius.
The story begins with Kathy Etchingham arriving to greet the crowd, who have gathered to pay a long overdue tribute to one of the greatest musical geniuses of the twentieth century.
A Blue Plaque is unveiled at the flat she once shared with Jimi Hendrix. It is an honour usually reserved for the elite of the classical music fraternity. For Mrs Etchingham, it marks the end of a long quest to see her former lover and friend gain the recognition he so rightly deserved.
The book then rolls back the years and the author tells of her first meeting with Hendrix and their subsequent relationship. Finally it tells of the feelings she had at hearing of Hendrix's death in late 1970.
The book doesn't offer us any new insights into the mysteries surrounding Hendrix's death, but it gives us a first hand account of a gentle and at times shy musical hero who found it difficult to say 'no' to the hangers on who eventually suffocated his creative spirit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. O'keeffe on 20 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this. I think this is as near as we are ever going to get to the maestro. You get the feeling that Kathy was one of the few that understood him and the book is affectionate in a very touching way. Good ol Kathy E!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Steven Maddox on 22 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Kathy was Jimi's first girlfriend when he came to England in late 1966. She lived with him until he split for the States and fame started to get too much for either of them. Jimi is reputed to have written the song 'Gypsy Eyes' for Kathy, hence the name of the book. Kathy was one of the main people responsible for getting the case surrounding Jimi's tragic death to be reopened and she ended up proving that Monica Danneman (who was with Jimi when he died) had lied about the circumstances of Jimi's death. Tragically Monica later killed herself partly as a result of having her lies exposed.

Kathy gives a good insight into life in the swinging sixties of London, particularly for the elite group of musicians and their associates who were in the top bands of the day (the Stones, Beatles, Cream, Hendrix Experience, Traffic etc.). Kathy appears to have been very fond of Jimi and the feeling was mutual. When Kathy later married one of Eric Clapton's roadies Jimi apparently was very upset....although it was partly due to his infidelities on tour that led to Kathy leaving him. They remained friends until the end however and Jimi even looked her up when he was in London in 1970 just before he died. Kathy also campaigned for the Blue Plaque to be put on the house they shared in London, and she was part of a pro-Hendrix group (including original Experience bassist Noel Redding and Jimi's brother Leon) who lined up in opposition to the Hendrix family, led by non-biological stepsister Janie.

Kathy disputes Janie and Jimi's later father's accounts of a generally happy go-luckly childhood, and claims that Jimi was not particularly close to his father, who she believes was more interested in the money after Jimi died.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Webster on 13 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Kathy Etchingham met Jimi Hendrix at the time he arrived in England in 1966 and was in a relationship with him throughout his rise to fame. The relationship ended in 1969. Although this is essentially a book about the author’s life, the balk of the book is centred on her relationship with Hendrix. I really enjoyed this book. It is written in a very plain and straightforward way where the author’s main concern is to give a genuing record of her relationship with Hendrix. She also had a very interesting upbringing and was very much a part of the mid-sixties London music scene. She had had relationships with Brian Jones and Keith Moon and there are some interesting stories about a number of characters that were around at that time. I would not call this the most informative book written on Hendrix and it doesn’t claim to be. But is does give an interesting insight into Hendrix by someone who knew him intimately and has enough integrity to want to give an honest account of their relationship.
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