Few people could have imagined that one of the greatest revolutions of the 20th century would come from a neck and six strings. Even fewer would have imagined that rock’s greatest rebel would not have southern origins but would come from faraway Washington state, with its mix of black, white, and Cherokee blood in the curly effigy of Jimi Hendrix, the greatest guitarist in the nation? history?
An ephemeral revolution of a young man named James Marshall Hendrix, born 80 years ago today on November 27, 1942, and who, between vinyl records and afternoons listening to teachers like BB King or Chuck Berry, would begin to love the guitar and raise it as a symbol of fleeting nonconformity. . His fame in the United States would come in the 1960s thanks to a legendary concert at the Monterey Pop Festival, after having previously captivated the European public with his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The same transience that illuminated the musical scene of the sixties and that with the same speed left us orphaned by one of the best artists in history –a story full of wonderful songs– who only had seven years to leave us his work in La Tierra before joining the infamous 27 Club. Seven years of virtuosity, fast-paced riffs and shows never before seen on stage, capable of melting any rhythm around his Gibson and Fender, from rock and roll to the purest blues. We might even have seen him exploring new sonic heights if the supergroup he nearly formed with Paul McCartney and Miles Davis had come to fruition.
The protagonist of this article possibly lived in the narrowest limit that ever existed between magic and music. That limit that few would dare to dream and that Jimi nevertheless made his own. We don’t need any special date to remember his ten best songs by him, so today is as good a time as any. Because there is always time to enjoy good music.
1967. The purity of Hendrix’s sound in one of the best intro strums in modern music included on his album Are You Experienced? A song that has gained weight over the years and that critics denounced at the beginning for considering that there was ‘too much guitar’.
While a more conservative part of North America despised the hippie movement and considered them enemies of the country, another part vibrated at the Woodstock festival. That famous 1969 that marked the milestone of the beat generation and where Hendrix played the American anthem like never before.
In 1968, Hendrix left behind all the burden of his Stratocaster treble to delve into terrain that only the blues had tried to tread. Slow, low-pitched riffs found within the wah-wah to turn rock into something more.
All Along the Watchtower
You might be surprised to find this song here because it’s not 100 percent Hendrix. This 1967 song was composed by Bob Dylan, but Hendrix asked his permission to interpret it. Seeing the result we are glad that Dylan gave him his approval.
Awed by the tremendous realism of Dennis Hopper’s 1969 Easy Rider , Hendrix collected Hopper’s thrown stills into his own theme song. The theme was finally published in 1971, a year after the guitarist’s death, something that Hopper himself felt strongly about.
Hendrix’s life may never have been plain sailing. We only know from his legacy that the closest he came to being was when he met Mary, his great love, the one who ended up leaving him due to his health problems. From there came this ode to six strings and torn passion that Hendrix composed to close the wound.
Burning of The Midnight Lamp
Trying to find a single rock record that Hendrix did not propose is an almost impossible task. Thus we find this internship within psychedelic rock where the use of percussion accompanies Hendrix’s light guitar in this song included in Electric Ladyland from 1968.
Literally ‘fire’ on stage is this powerful song that Hendrix proposed at the end of 1968 and which meant once again recovering the more guitar-like rhythms of his early years.
This theme turns out to be the closest thing Hendrix was to rhythm & blues and where he also touched the blues with his fingertips. Pure spectacle on the stage and a Hendrix unleashed, not only on guitar but also on voice, make Stone Free a necessary classic.
A lyric passed down through several generations of Americans who talk about running away and not looking back. From a fugue with no return. Perhaps of what Hendrix himself was after and that he became an icon of the sixties thanks to his liberated style on the guitar.