Just Burn Your Guitar

Jimi Hendrix songs were just as prevalent and mind-blowing in the ’60s as they are today. Deemed the best electric guitarist of all time, Hendrix still amazes with his groundbreaking guitar techniques. Whether it was the feedback riffs, wah-wah pedal, picking with his teeth or just burning a Fender Stratocaster guitar, his talent surpassed many in his short 27 years.

You gotta remember, NOBODY was doing this stuff when he was. He invented rock guitar for what it is today.   And nobody has done it quite like him since.

Here are some of his essential guitar solos:

“Fire”

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 performance.  Smoking.  (sorry).

“Foxy Lady

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.”  Bet it worked.

“Crosstown Trafffic”

This psychedelic Hendrix song — comparing sexual references to, yes, a traffic jam — features a heavy beat under a kazoo riff.  The song was featured on 1968’s ‘Electric Ladyland’ — Hendrix’s third and final album while he was alive.

“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 blatant psychedelic lyrics that take you through a music experience like none other.

“Freedom”

‘Freedom’ was the only single released on his posthumous album ‘The Cry of Love,’ 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 Mitch Mitchell’s backbeat.

“Purple Haze

The mondegreen “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” was perpetuated by Hendrix, when he actually 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 film you can see him intentionally pointing to the sky while singing the lyric.

“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.”  Pretty good when the author of a song feels like he’s paying tribute to somebody else with his own song….

What about you?  Have any favorite Hendrix solos?

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4 responses

  1. For me, nothing beats his work on “Little Wing” and especially “The Wind Cries Mary”. Just beautiful sound from the same guy who blows it out on “Fire”. That’s talent!

    March 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm

  2. JOHN MANN

    At the 68 Monterey festival, a roadie GAVE the original sunburst Strat that Jimi set afire at the Astoria in 1967, to Frank Zappa. Jimi had kept the guitar as a souvenir. Don’t know what that roadie was smoking!

    March 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  3. Tres

    Can’t leave out Little Wing. Also Third Stone from the Sun. Or the riff / rhythm work on Wait Until Tomorrow. In fact, at least to me, what he played behind his vocals often out-shined his solos.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

  4. mark lanter

    perhaps his best and most extended use of feedback recorded was on “Band of Gypsies”

    March 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

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