The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a short-lived, yet highly influential rock band famous for the guitar work of Jimi Hendrix (1942– 1970) on songs such as Purple Haze, Foxy Lady, Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and All Along the Watchtower. Rounding out the Experience were Noel Redding (1945–2003) and Mitch Mitchell (1947–2008) on bass and drums respectively.Read More...
Hendrix arrived in England in October 1966, and auditions were launched to find him a backing band. Noel Redding was chosen for the bass spot. Even though he had never played bass before auditioning (he was a guitarist), Hendrix liked his look and attitude. Mitch Mitchell was a seasoned London drummer who brought jazz chops and a lead style of playing to the table. He would prove to be Hendrix's most valuable musical partner.
Though initially conceived as Hendrix's backing band, The Experience soon became much more than that. Along with Cream, they were the first group to popularize the "power trio" format, which essentially strips a rock band lineup down to the essentials: bass, guitar and drums. This smaller format also encourages more extrovert playing from the players involved, often at very high volumes. In the case of The Experience, Hendrix mixed lead and rhythm guitar duties into one, while also making use of then-revolutionary guitar effects such as feedback and wah-wah.
Mitchell played hard-hitting jazz-influenced grooves that often served a melodic role as much as they did timekeeping. Redding was the eye of the storm, playing deceptively simple bass lines that helped to anchor the band's sound. Visually, they decked themselves out in matching psychedelic costumes and permed afros.
The lineup first came to prominence during the Monterey Pop Festival, one of the first major music festivals. The band delivered a stellar performance, that ended with Hendrix famously setting his guitar on fire. The moment was immortalized in a photograph which was used as a cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The appearance was also filmed and put into the documentary film Monterey Pop. This brought them to the attention of North American audiences. They were then asked to go on tour with The Monkees as the opening act. They abruptly left the tour after only a few dates. It was later revealed by Chas Chandler as being a publicity stunt.
With the band, Hendrix recorded his three most successful albums, Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland. In June of 1969, he decided to break up the group. Deteriorating relations with Redding had come to a head, and he also felt stilted by the trio format. He used a larger band lineup for his Woodstock concert in August 1969.
Hendrix would revert back to the trio format with Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass and called themselves the Band of Gypsys. A live self-titled album was released in March 1970. This line up only lasted a couple of months. From early 1970 they were back to the original The Jimi Hendrix Experience, except Noel Redding was replaced by Billy Cox on bass.
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- LyricsPurple haze, all in my brain
Lately things they don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
Excuse me while I kiss the sky
Purple haze, all around
- LyricsThere must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief
Business men, they drink my wine
- LyricsHey Joe, where you goin' with that gun of your hand
Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand, oh
I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man
Yeah, I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
Now dig this, baby
You don't care for me
I don'-a care about that
Gotta new fool, ha!
- LyricsWell she's walking through the clouds
With a circus mind
That's running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
And fairly tales
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