REMEMBERING JIMI HENDRIX’S FIVE CAREER-DEFINING SONGS

JIMI HENDRIX WAS THE FIRST MUSICIAN TO REALISE THE TRUE POTENTIAL OF THE ELECTRIC GUITAR. ROLLING STONE RECALLS HIS STINT AS A BACKING GUITARIST FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS LITTLE RICHARD, BB KING AND IKE & TINA TURNER – FORMING THE FOUNDATION OF HIS EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRIC BLUES SOUND. HIS WILLINGNESS AND VIRTUOSO ABILITY TO PUSH THE TECHNICAL LIMITS OF THE INSTRUMENT TO EXTREMES ALLOWED HIM TO CHANGE THE FACE OF ROCK, BLUES, FUNK AND EVEN ELECTRONIC MUSIC IN A WAY THAT WOULD DOMINATE POPULAR MUSIC FOR OVER TWO DECADES… HERE ARE FIVE OF HIS CAREER-DEFINING SONGS…

Never has the blues sounded so funky as it did in VOODOO CHILD (SLIGHT RETURN). Hendrix’s live use of the wah pedal to alter the tone and frequency of his blues licks continues to inspire the playing of countless musicians to this day. Little Richard used to tell Hendrix that he sounded too much like B.B. King – that’s certainly not the case in VOODOO CHILD (SLIGHT RETURN), one of the foundational experiments in Hendrix’s repertoire. It should come as no surprise that this song is also a favourite of Jimi’s younger brother Leon Hendrix. The younger Hendrix continues to tour and keep Jimi’s blues legacy alive, as Leon revealed in a recent interview with The Mouth Magazine.

 

Many guitarists also point to BOLD AS LOVE as an example of how even though Hendrix is known for his insane virtuosity as a soloist, his playing might be even stronger in the rhythm section. The dozens of embellishments in his rhythm guitar playing is what infuse his songs with a unique momentum that keeps his controlled chaos interesting, even to casual listeners. No wonder BOLD AS LOVE always makes it in Hendrix-inspired best-of lists, like this one published by The Guardian.

 

While many guitarists bend strings mid-note to accent their playing, Hendrix worked both subtle and wild, dissonant bends into the melodies of his guitar solos. Nowhere is this style more apparent than in RED HOUSE. The song is set in the traditional structure of the blues, but played in a way that no one had ever heard before. The same style is applied to SPANISH CASTLE MAGIC, but in a much wilder and more aggressive manner.

 

Although technically a cover of the national anthem, Hendrix’s notorious performance of the STAR-SPANGLED BANNER allowed the world to understand the true capabilities of the whammy bar and feedback noise. His innovative distortion of chords and notes allowed him to imitate diving bombs and explosions. Words gave way to technical guitar playing in conveying the musician’s not-so-subtle political commentary on the war-mongering state of the nation.

 

As the opening track to ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album , PURPLE HAZE sets the tone via the unique signature chord phrasing and unorthodox use of the Dominant 7#9 chord – known colloquially now as the “Hendrix chord.” PURPLE HAZE is known throughout the world as the quintessential Hendrix song, in that it’s the most popular and influential jam he’s ever written. This is apparent in everything from music collections to Hendrix-inspired videos and even games. The Jimi Hendrix online slot on FoxyCasino features PURPLE HAZE prominently — not just as its soundtrack, but throughout the game’s psychedelic colours and style as well. Although other hits like CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC and FOXY LADY are also on the game, it is PURPLE HAZE that is clearly its biggest influence. This just goes to show the power of Jimi’s debut opener, and how well-loved both the song and the entire ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? album continues to be.

 

Calling Hendrix an icon would be an absolute understatement. His influence continues to be heard everywhere, from the music of virtuoso guitarists like Jack White and John Mayer, to his tracks being used as samples in trap and hip-hop. No other guitarist was, is, and will ever be as influential as Jimi Hendrix, the re-inventor of the electric blues guitar.