Image – David Redfern/Redferns
I have to credit my trip down the musical rabbit hole to one artist, or more one man. That man is a Seattle native and his command an audience and musical ability is nothing short of iconic to the generation he helped to define and no I’m not talking about Kurt Cobain.
I have always wanted to speak about Jimi Hendrix on this blog, but another topic had been rushing around my head at the time, however this year the Experience’s debut album turns 50 so it seems like the time has come. So where do I begin? I mean there’s almost too much, that I could say about Jimi. He is iconic to the 60’s Rock scene, iconic to the summer of love and iconic to the image of what are rock artist should be. Jerry Hopkins’s book on Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Link to which will be at the bottom of the post), shares in the introduction of the biography a quote. “I want to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.” by writer Willard Motely to explain the life of Hendrix. Adding, “As he flashed through the psychedelic 1960’s helping influence much of the style.” He became something much bigger than a mere musician. The Hendrix story is one of a man spun out further then we know and a Myth that grows larger and larger.
Hendrix achieved this in life and in death and is still selling more and more albums. So let’s talk about the birthday boy real quick. With ‘Are You Experienced’ turning 50, it is a big moment, marking the beginning of the roller-coaster ride for the next two or so years before it all fell apart. An amazing album, something that is shown with it’s rocket of success and amazing reception, it has a feeling that gravitates personality to it. Billboard magazine state “It’s not just one of the greatest debut albums ever, it’s one of the greatest albums, ever. It’s one of the classics of classic rock. Your usual opinions or personal musical tastes need not apply — it’s above that. It’s sacred. It’s divine. It just is.” and it’s hard to disagree an album made up of some of the finest Hendricks track; Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The wind Cries Mary, Fire, Foxey Lady and the beautiful Red House the idea of a better able is possible but not regular. It’s reception was maddening it spent 33 weeks on the U.K. charts, peaking at No. 2. And when it was released in the US in August that year, it reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200. remaining on the chart for 106 weeks (76 of those in the top 40!).
It would be only weeks later that Hendrix would open a show covering “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band” A show that had two of The Beatles (Harrison and McCartney) watching. Then to the Monterey Pop Festival and a moment, that becomes folk law to music heads. The film “All is by my side”, covers this period for Hendrix, his arrival in England and creation of Are You Experienced. “Something that I would really recommend all fans of Hendrix to go watch.” The album will be remembered for that Iconic Foxey Lady rift, that blazing psychedelic sound of Purple Haze and the way that this album makes you feel the need to hold on tight so you’re not flung into space. This album is simply something else. Now I have only scratched the surface so if you want to learn more about the life of Jimi Hendrix and listen to more of his music or Are You Experience, links can be found below.
I’m a Voodoo Chile
A song that would arrive later, it is still one of Hendrix most beloved songs. Jimi to me was my first taste into the outer areas of music. Something that I found on my own that was amazing. There was the stuff that I had starting listing to my parents and my friends. Then there was the stuff that my friends and I would listen to, something I would normally receive a questioning look for as a parent would pass my open door. There was this something that I found with no outside interference and it hooked me. It was music like I’d never heard before, I wasn’t watered down, squeaky clean pop music nor was it trying to be edgy alternative music. It was just magical. The music, the myth it all played into someone who I would calm is the greatest influence to the electric guitar of all time. (Although that’s a story for another day.)
Links and Stuff – If you want to learn more
Jerry Hopkin – Jimi Hendrix Experience
All Is By My Side – Jimi Hendrix Story