The Final Songs Performed Live by 50 of Rock’s Biggest Artists
On Sept. 6, 1970, the Jimi Hendrix Experience delivered an exhilarating set at the Open Air Love & Peace Festival in Fehmarn, Germany. The group tore through favorites like "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze" and "All Along the Watchtower," with the guitar luminary wailing away on his instrument. It was exciting, uplifting and everything fans would want from Hendrix.
As fate would have it, the set would be the legendary musician’s final headlining concert. It was not, however, his final performance. That moment actually happened several days later in London.
Eric Burdon and the funk band War were playing at a jazz club when Hendrix was welcomed to the stage as a surprise guest. Burdon recalled the event in his autobiography, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: “I introduced Jimi to the audience. … The typical London jazz crowd tried to show indifference as he took the stage, but a ripple of applause greeted the greatest guitar player in the world.”
Hendrix performed two covers with the band, “Tobacco Road” and “Mother Earth,” the latter closing the set. “We slid into ‘Mother Earth,’ a beautiful blues written by Memphis Slim,” Burdon remembered. “We ended the set with a burning jam. Jimi was flying. And then it was over.” Hendrix died just two days later.
It’s rare that an artist gets to perfectly plan their final performance. Sure, those occasions do happen, thanks to reunion shows, farewell tours and the like. Still, more often than not, unpredictable events like band breakups, medical concerns and death often end a musician’s performance window earlier than expected.
We searched through the history books to find the final songs performed by some of rock’s biggest stars. Though they may not have ended on their own terms, they all left behind a concert history worthy of admiration, as you'll see below in the Final Songs Performed Live by 50 of Rock's Biggest Artists.