Featured on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album, 'Are You Experienced,' this song clocks at just under three minutes -- which Jimi always extended during his live theatrical performances. The song was covered by several artists, most notably the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who started playing it in the '80s with guitarist Hillel Slovak -- and who later featured their cover as a tribute to the late Slovak on 1989's 'Mother's Milk.' They also performed their version at Woodstock '99.
Also known as 'Foxey Lady,' in the US and Canada (it was misspelled on the album release), the song features one of the earliest cases of Hendrix's guitar amp feedback technique, as well as his famous jazzy 7#9 chord (a dominant seventh with an augmented ninth). In the lyrics, Jimi is bluntly telling a girl he wants to take her home: "Ah, baby, listen now/I've made up my mind/I'm tired of wasting all my precious time/You've got to be all mine, all mine."
Featured on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album (UK cover featured on the right), the song is recognized as one of drummer Mitch Michell's most notable tracks -- especially his jazz fusion style, played here as a rock waltz in 3/4 time. John Mayer recently performed a cover of this song with Jeff Beck during the encore of Beck's April 22 concert at the El Ray Theatre in Los Angeles. And get this: There's even an Italian Hendrix tribute band named after this song.
This psychedelic Hendrix song -- comparing sexual references to, yes, a traffic jam -- features a heavy beat under a kazoo riff and backing vocals by bassist Noel Redding and Traffic's Dave Mason. The song was featured on 1968's 'Electric Ladyland' -- Hendrix's third and final album while he was alive. 'Valleys of Neptune,' Hendrix's recent posthumous album, features previously unreleased material recorded right after 'Electric Ladyland' but before Woodstock.
'Are You Experienced?'
The title track on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album, the song features both backward and forward recorded guitars and drums (similarly to 'Castles Made of Sand'), paired with psychedelic lyrics that take you through a music experience: "If you can just get your mind together/Then come on across to me/We'll hold hands and then we'll watch the sunrise/From the bottom of the sea."
'Freedom' was the only single released on his posthumous album 'The Cry of Love,' helmed by Mitch Mitchell and audio engineer and producer Eddie Kramer. This Jimi Hendrix song takes you back to why we fell in love with him in the first place -- fast-paced trills and releases that only Hendrix could deliver, backed by Mitchell's backbeat. This is in contrast to the following track, 'Drifting' -- another beautiful ballad similarly constructed as 'Castles Made of Sand.'
'Castles Made of Sand'
This mellow ballad -- off the Jimi Hendrix Experience's second album, 'Axis: Bold as Love' -- features a guitar solo played backwards on the album track. In a Rolling Stone interview, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante said the simplicity of his guitar melody in 'Under the Bridge' "was an attempt to do a song in the style of Jimi Hendrix's prettier songs -- 'Castles Made of Sand,' 'Bold as Love.'"
Like 'Foxy Lady, ' this song is noted for Hendrix's 7#9 chord. The mondegreen "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" was perpetuated by Hendrix, when he playfully sang that lyric in concert. It wasn't until Woodstock did he clear up the misrepresentation, singing "Excuse me while I kiss the sky." In the Woodstock DVD you can see him intentionally pointing to the sky while singing the lyric.
'Hey Joe' was produced by former Animals bass player Chas Chandler and released as Hendrix's first single along in 1966 ('67 in the US). The (supposedly) Billy Roberts-written song was recorded by the Leaves, the Surfaris, Love and the Byrds, as well as a slower version by Tim Rose, on which Hendrix based his rendition. According to the BBC, Hendrix's cover of this song performed at Cafe Wha? in New York was what persuaded Chandler to manage him. Two months later, the pair would be on a plane to England.
'All Along the Watchtower'
Hendrix spent around seven months recording and rerecording this Bob Dylan song. The final version was released on the 'Electric Ladyland' album in September 1968. Within the booklet of Bob Dylan's 'Biograph' album Dylan admitted, "I liked Jimi Hendrix's record of this and ever since he died I've been doing it that way... Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it's a tribute to him in some kind of way." Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews and Neil Young have all covered this track, but Hendrix's version proves to the best and is, without doubt, our No. 1 Jimi Hendrix song.