feature: “lithofayne pridgon: jimi hendrix’s original ‘foxy lady’”

March 24, 2015
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“Sam Cooke, Sly Stone and Little Willie fought for her attention. Jimi Hendrix loved her so much he wrote songs about her.” In a rare interview with the Guardian, Lithofayne Pridgon – lover of Jimi Hendrix and best friend to the late Etta James – opens up about her relationship with the guitar legend, and her life in 60’s Harlem. Pridgon, the inspiration behind the Hendrix song ‘Foxy Lady’, also speaks candidly about the other musical greats who vied for her attention – regarded by these men as both muse and confidante. Check out the full interview here and see some excerpts below.

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor



Never been kissed until she met “Fever” singer Little Willie John. Seduced by Sam Cooke at only 16. Pined for by Jimi Hendrix as the one woman he loved but could never hold on to. Lithofayne Pridgon, the unacknowledged inspiration behind Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”, has held some of the most charismatic and talented performers of their day in her sway, and befriended many others – a roll call that includes Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, Ike Turner and James Brown. She was also Etta James’s best friend.

“Fayne was a party girl, she liked to have a good time,” says Winona Williams, a former Wilhelmina model and girlfriend of Paul McCartney and David Bowie, who first met Lithofayne on the late-60s New York music scene through Hendrix and remains one of her closest friends. “Still, to this day, you can’t tie her down. Her spirit just roams free.”



“I liked skinny, raw-boned, over-fucked, underfed-looking guys,” she laughs. Hendrix, she says, was “my type”. He made enough of an impression on her then, as a lover, that her heart skipped a beat when she realised who it was after bumping into him again. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s him.’ I was trying to be real cool.” They walked all the way from the Apollo to her mother’s apartment, near Central Park, and, there, bonded over her mother’s large collection of blues records. Later, they ended up in a room at the Cecil Hotel and hopped into bed. From that moment on, she says, “We were inseparable.”

There’s a feeling that she was drawn to qualities in her lovers that resonated with her own sense of self. John’s uninhibited spirit, Cooke’s romanticism, the sensitivity of Hendrix. Of John, Cooke and Wilson, she says, “They were all totally different than the songs they sang. They could sing the hell out of some love song. But, as we used to say back then, they were all from city to city and titty to titty. “That side of them appealed to me, because I always loved womanisers,” she says. From the time she arrived in New York, she began to relish her sexual freedom in the same way, and on equal terms, as her famous lovers: “There were things about them that were bold and daring, yet endearing at the same time, and they allowed me to just be who I was.” They made no demands on her, no attempts to tie her down. When Hendrix came into her life, all that changed.