50 Years Ago: Jimi Hendrix Arrested in Sweden
Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix was almost as well known for his energetic, anything-can-happen stage performances as for his innovative musicianship. But during a brief tour of Sweden at the start of 1968, the guitarist got a little too wild off stage and got himself arrested, for which he was detained for two weeks.
On Jan. 3, 1968, the Jimi Hendrix Experience landed in Gothenburg for a quick four-date tour of Sweden and Denmark. The musicians checked into the Hotel Opalen, then decided to go out to a club. After partying at Klubb Karl, the group returned to the hotel at 2AM, where they continued to party in the room of drummer Mitch Mitchell with some other friends.
Sometime around 4AM on Jan. 4, a guest staying on the floor below complained to the hotel's night receptionist about a disturbance in the room above, and when he let himself into the room, he discovered Hendrix lying on the bed in a pool of blood, with the room in devastation after a violent rampage. The guitarist had broken the window and injured his hand while wrecking the room in an apparent drug-and-booze filled fury, and he was arrested and transported to the hospital for treatment after police were called to the scene.
Hendrix was charged with criminal damage, and local authorities placed him under a travel ban, forcing him to report to the police station every day at 2PM for the next two weeks. On Jan. 16, 1968, Hendrix had his day in court, receiving a fine of 3,200 Swedish Crowns.
This wouldn't be Hendrix's only trouble because of alcohol and drugs. Friends have often recalled that the normally peaceful musician became violently angry if he drank. There was even an incident in which a girlfriend reportedly had to have stitches after Hendrix struck her above the eye with a bottle in a drunken rage. In 1969, he faced charges of drug possession after Canadian customs agents found heroin and hashish in his luggage, charges that he later beat.