Jimi Hendrix, 'Black Gold' (1970)
In early 1970, Hendrix sought to pen music that stretched beyond conventional rock & roll songs. "Pieces. I guess that's what you call it," he described to Rolling Stone. "Like movements. I've been writing some of those." One day he grabbed his Martin acoustic guitar and recorded a 16-song suite onto some cassettes. Writing "Black Gold" on the label, he presented the tapes to drummer Mitch Mitchell to work out parts for a studio recording. Hendrix died before this could take place, and the cassettes remained in Mitchell's possession, forgotten for two decades.
During this time, the tapes were presumed stolen and lost forever, leading to endless speculation about what they contained – if they existed at all. Hendrix rarely spoke about Black Gold in the press, offering only oblique references to his new creative direction. "It's mostly cartoon material," he said. "I make up this one cat who's funny. He goes through all these strange scenes. You could put it to music, I guess."
The mystery of Black Gold was partially solved in 1992 when Mitch Mitchell rediscovered the missing tapes in his English home. Six songs had been completed in the studio and issued on posthumous albums, but the other nine titles were unique to the tape. After years of legal wrangling, Hendrix's estate has promised to deliver Black Gold at some point "this decade." So far only one song, the opening number called "Suddenly November Morning," has seen release.