Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell was born on 9 July 1946 in Greenwich, London. His full birth name was John Ronald Mitchell. Where he was a teenager he starred in the children's tv show Jennings and Derbyshire and had the lead role in the 1960 film Bottoms Up. Whilst he was at school, he worked at Jim Marshall's drum shop. Mitchell was highly influenced by Jazz, in particular Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello.
His early career was filled with work with numerous bands as a touring and session musician. He worked with Pete Nelson and the Travellers, Frankie Reid and the Casuals, Johnny Harris and the Shades, The Pretty Things, Bill Knight & The Sceptres, The Riot Squad, and was even a session drummer for The Who whilst the band were in the process of switching between Doug Sandom and Keith Moon.
In 1965 he briefly replaced Viv Prince as drummer in the Pretty Things. From the end of the year to October 1966 he was the drummer of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. He appeared on their album "Sweet Things".
In October 1966 he auditioned for Jimi Hendrix's band and managed to just beat drummer Aynsley Dunbar to the job on a coin flip. The band would become highly popular and influential. Mitchell would stay a member of all of the Jimi Hendrix bands from the Experience trio in 1966 to 1969, to the Woodstock band in 1969 and the 1970 Experience band later known as the Cry of Love Band.
In 1968 Mitchell played The Dirty Mac, a super group for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. It would also feature John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.
In 1969 he collaborated with Jack Bruce and Friends, which along with Jack Bruce featured Mike Mandel and Larry Coryell. He also joined demo sessions for Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" album, but does not feature in the final recording.
In 1970 Jimi Hendrix died. Mitch helped engineer Eddie Kramer finish the incomplete Hendrix recordings for the albums "The Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge".
In 1972 he joined Mike Pinera and April Lawton to form the group Ramatam. With Ramatam he would record two albums and they were Emerson, Lake and Palmer's opening act. Ramatam never quite achieved commercial success and Mitchell left the band before the release of the second album. Mitchell would also perform in concerts with Terry Reid, Jack Bruce and Jeff Beck.
Mitchell would be a part of the jam band "Hinkley's Heroes", drumming alongside drummer John Halsey.
Hendrix's manager Michael Jeffery, changed Mitchell and Noel Redding to paid employees without an ownership share in future revenues from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This led to Mitchell having economic problems and he had to sell a Hendrix guitar. He also had to sell a small legal claim to future Hendrix records sales for about $200,000.
In 1974 he auditioned to be in Paul McCartney's band Wings. The decision would once again go to a coin toss, this time he lost out to drummer Geoff Britton.
Mitchell then semi-retired.
In 1986 he joined jazz musician Greg Parker to make a video of Black Dog, by Led Zeppelin.He did session work on Junior Brown's album "Long Walk Back".
In 1999 he was part of the Gypsy Sun Experience with Billy Cox and guitarist Gary Serkin. He appeared on Bruce Cameron's album "Midnight Daydream", which also featured Billy Cox, Buddy Miles and Jack Bruce.
In 2008 he appeared on the Experience Hendrix Tour, featuring Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Robby Krieger, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Brad Whitford, Hubert Sumlin, Chris Layton, Eric Gales, and Mato Nanji. Five days after the tour ended Mitchell died of natural causes in his sleep.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community