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Answer 118. Jimi Hendrix. Those drugs beside the bed did for him soon enough. He was only 27 when he died, the classic age for a rock star.


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Hendrix wasn’t the only musician to live in Brook Street. The composer George Frederick Handel once lived next door, albeit a few years earlier.

HandelHendrixLike Hendrix, Handel had come to London to further his career. Like Hendrix too, he was a bachelor, but with little interest in women or drugs.

He moved into 25 Brook Street in 1723 and stayed there until he died. It’s where he composed the Messiah and many other works.

Handel held rehearsals at Brook Street too and sold tickets to anyone who wanted to come. One such rehearsal was held on 11 April 1735:

‘Yesterday morning, my sister and I went with Mrs Donellan to Mr Handel’s house to hear the first rehearsal of the new opera Alcina. I think it the best he ever made… ’tis so fine I have not words to describe it… Whilst Mr Handel was playing his part, I could not help thinking him a necromancer in the midst of his own enchantments.’

Handel’s career flourished until disaster struck in 1752:

‘We hear that George Frederick Handel Esq, the celebrated Composer of Musick was seized a few days ago with a Paralytick Disorder in his Head, which has deprived him of Sight.’

Handel struggled on, but his best years were over. He died in 1759.

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 119. Handel composed the music for King George II’s coronation in 1727. What was notable about it?

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