Hendrix's Brother Denied Royalties
A Seattle judge on Friday upheld a will excluding the brother of late guitar legend Jimi Hendrix from the musician's posthumous releases, royalties and merchandise.A Seattle judge on Friday upheld a will excluding the brother of late guitar legend Jimi Hendrix from the musician's posthumous releases, royalties and merchandise.
The case, the latest of several that have entangled the Hendrix estate in the last decade, concerns the last will of Jimi's father, Al Hendrix, who inherited the rights to Jimi's music when the rock star died in 1970.
Jimi's brother, Leon, says he was unfairly written out of the will at the behest of his stepsister, Janie Hendrix, who runs the company in charge of the estate, Experience Hendrix LLC, with Jimi's cousin, Robert Hendrix. But Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell upheld the will, saying "Janie was the family member Al trusted the most."
Leon Hendrix criticized the decision outside the court. "This is the Hendrixes," he said. "This is the family right here, you know -- bloodline." His lawyer said no decision had been made on a possible appeal.
A 1996 version of Al Hendrix's will would have directed 24 percent of the estate to Leon Hendrix, 38 percent to his stepsister and the balance to other beneficiaries. But it was rewritten in 1997 to exclude Leon. Al Hendrix died in 2002.
Janie Hendrix's attorney, John Wilson, said Al Hendrix decided on his own to write his son out of the will, but Leon Hendrix's lawyer said the father was infirm in his old age and could not comprehend even simple legal issues.
Jimi Hendrix had released just three albums before he died at age 27, but he had an extensive catalog of unreleased tracks. For about two decades after his death, his estate was run by a California attorney who sold many of the copyrights to other companies.
At the urging of Janie Hendrix, Al Hendrix sued the lawyer in the early 1990s to regain the rights he had sold. That case was settled but left the estate in debt.
According to Janie Hendrix, her father did not want money paid to the beneficiaries listed in his will until the debt was paid off. That is expected to happen in 2010.
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