sicks’ stadium

interesting little history jaunt.
stan stapp column idea #4662.
jimi hendrix sees elvis perform in seattle…
hmm, sounds promising.

Picture 2

On September 1, 1957, however, one of those Garfield students made a connection with Elvis Presley. That evening in Sicks’ Seattle Stadium, the black rhythm and blues music that inspired Elvis was passed through him to a young African-American who would carry rock’s banner through the following decade.

Fourteen-year-old Jimi Hendrix could not afford to buy a ticket, so with others he watched Elvis perform from a hill overlooking Sicks’ Stadium on the east side. Though he could barely see Elvis, Hendrix saw the excitement as the 16,000 in the stadium reacted to Presley taking the stage. He heard Elvis sing his hit songs, and as the singer launched into his “Hound Dog” finale, Hendrix clapped his hands and stomped his feet on the hillside.

As Presley exited the stadium in the backseat of a white Cadillac, Jimi got his closest look at the rock ’n’ roll star as the car drove by on the street below him. Two months after the concert, Hendrix acknowledged the effect it had on him by drawing a picture of Elvis in his notebook. Around the image of the guitar-playing Presley, Jimi wrote the titles of a dozen of the singer’s hit records.

In 1970 Jimi Hendrix, by then arguably the world’s most famous guitar player, performed in concert at Sicks’ Seattle Stadium, just as Elvis had done thirteen years earlier. By the time he died of a drug overdose later that year, however, Sicks’ Stadium had been torn down. Still, the two-hundred-car funeral procession that accompanied Hendrix to Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Renton, south of Seattle, passed by the former stadium site where both he and Presley had performed. It was a sad but vivid reminder of the fluidity of American rock music as it passed through giants from one generation to the next.


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