HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIMI HENDRIX! HERE ARE THREE HENDRIX SONGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
POSTED NOV. 27TH, 2017 | BY RAMIRO ALEXANDER-DUCHESNE
Like with the article that I wrote in honor of B. B. King’s birthday, I think I’ll break my usual form for this article. Again, I like to blog about the facts. I write so that anyone who reads, will walk away from my article with information that they did not have prior. But today I am celebrating what would have been Jimi Hendrix’s 75th birthday.
When I First Heard Jimi
I was eleven when my mother introduced me to Jimi Hendrix’s music. I was already caste as a ‘weird’ kid -- not simply by all of the other kids at school but also by most of the people in my family -- and listening to Hendrix did not make me ‘normal’ in the least bit. Although I had not read nor heard about Jimi’s reaction to hearing Muddy Waters for the first time, my reaction was similar to his.
Years after I had first heard Jimi Hendrix and became fascinated by his life story, I either read an excerpt from a book or watched a clip from a video where Jimi mentioned that he was scared the first time he had heard a Muddy Waters album. He had never heard all of those sounds that were on Waters’ album.
When the first notes of Purple Haze came blaring out of the speakers, through my ear canals, and into my soul I wasn’t scared. But I cannot deny that I was astounded by what I heard. I had never heard music like that before. For the longest time I didn’t listen to anyone other than Jimi and I began to emulate his style of guitar playing learning to play with my teeth, behind my head, behind my back, with various pedals, and by manipulating sound.
Conception Of This List
Over the years, I’ve collected a plethora of Jimi Hendrix paraphernalia. I have Jimi Hendrix vinyls, CDs, books, documentaries, replicas of his sound fx pedals, and guitar pics donning his face. I became somewhat obsessed. Now that I’m a Blogger, my obsession for Jimi’s music and life story have carried over into my writing.
I won’t cover the history of Jimi Hendrix’s life with this article because that will come at a later date. However, I have compiled a list of three songs that every Jimi Hendrix fan must know, and that anyone who is new to Jimi’s work should be introduced to in order to get a sense of his talent.
I had a difficult time compiling this list because each and every one of his songs are undeniably amazing. But if I had to provide someone who is new to Jimi Hendrix and simply wants to get their feet wet with a small list of songs, I would have to say that these are the three Jimi Hendrix songs you should listen to.
3. Best Guitar Solo: Like A Rolling Stone (Winterland)
On various accounts, Jimi Hendrix mentioned his affinity for Bob Dylan’s music. Hendrix covered a number of Dylan’s songs like All Along The Watchtower, Drifter’s Escape, and Tears Of Rage. And although he never recorded a studio version, at least not that I know of, Jimi Hendrix often covered Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone during live performances.
As part of his homecoming back to the states after beginning his career in England, Jimi Hendrix performed Like A Rolling Stone at the Monterey Pop Festival. But just over a year later on October 10th, 1968, Hendrix performed a perfected rendition of Dylan’s song. This Winterland cover gives you a sense of what kind of live performer and talented musician Jimi Hendrix was.
2. Best Instrumental: Pali Gap
Pali Gap appears on a number of albums. The instrumental Pali Gap can be found on the albums South Saturn Delta and Rainbow Bridge. Rainbow Bridge is a film that Jimi Hendrix produced which took place in California and Hawai’i. The film ends with Jimi giving a concert in Hawai’i wearing a black shirt with silver conches lining the sleeves.
I can write a thesis, or at least a decent short story based on this song. The first draft of this blog was five pages -- two of which were focused on the details of Pali Gap. But no matter how much anyone critically writes/talks about this song, you have to hear it for yourself. Be sure to listen to it with headphones, however, so you can hear the detail on each track of the song.
1. Best Song: Somewhere
The song Somewhere from his posthumously released 2013 album People, Hell And Angels, encapsulates Jimi’s talent the best; It has a tight intro and his use of the Wah is not only prevalent throughout the song but it exhibits his mastery of the sound. His lyrics include Sci-Fi iconographic references and it’s a funky song, overall.
As I began to study Jimi Hendrix’s life and music, I was able to spot motifs in his work: inspiration from the Blues and Soul music which he picked up from playing on the Chitlin’ Circuit, references to Sci-Fi, and always pushing the limit. Somewhere has a little bit of all of that which is why it’s his number one song.
There is no ‘best’ when it comes to Jimi Hendrix. I may be biased but everything he created turned into musical gold. Jimi Hendrix was a true genius and master of, not only the guitar, but of music, space, and time themselves.
Toward the end of his life, Jimi often spoke about taking his music into new directions. His later recordings give you an impression of where he was taking his music. His Woodstock performance exhibited the beginnings of Funk and Heavy Metal, while maintaining his Blues and Soul influence. Also check out, if you can, the bootleg album Kaleidoscope where you will find tracks that sound incredibly similar to Disco.
There was only one Jimi Hendrix. No one compared to him before his time, during his time, and no one has been able to compare since.
Happy Birthday, Jimi Hendrix.
Social Media Links
LinkedIn: Ramiro Alexander-Duchesne
FB: Ramiro Alexander-Duchesne