“I saw him here. He was young and carried a guitar on his back,” swore Mohammed Boualala, who is in his 60s and grew up in the small settlement of Diabat.
In the summer of 1969, Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose hits include “Purple Haze” and “Hey Joe”, made a brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town and latter-day tourist magnet located five kilometres (three miles) from the village.
There are no soundtracks or images left from the rock icon’s journey, but countless myths surround his fleeting trip.
“He visited friends who were staying in the village. It was the last that we saw him,” sighed Boualala, clad in traditional brown qamis tunic.
“They say he is dead but only God knows.”
Hendrix died in a hotel in London on September 18, 1970, after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine.
His “short visit… produced a mountain of erroneous information and fictitious stories,” said Caesar Glebbeek, a Hendrix biographer, in an article on the website UniVibes.
Local legend even has it that Hendrix’s “Castles made of Sand” was inspired by the ruins of Diabat’s Dar Sultan Palace.
But in reality that track was released in 1967, two years ahead of the star’s Morocco visit.
Moreover, Glebbeek goes on to asser that, contrary to the hazy claims of tour guides and nostalgic fans, he “didn’t even visit Diabat”.