The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced (1967)
A debut for the ages that should probably be higher on many best of lists.
The problem: which version of the same album?!
The Original British edition had eleven tracks, but did not have the three major hits (Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary).
The US/Canada release added those three tracks, but removed Red House, Can You See Me, and Remember. Curiously, Foxy Lady became Foxey Lady as well. It would be tough to argue that these three omissions were stronger, track-for-track, than their replacements. However, it all feels cut-and-pasted; the running order was also changed, making it feel more like a compilation than a proper studio album.
Make no mistake: this is the sound of a band. Jimi’s revolutionary guitar work is self-explanatory but the contributions of Noel Redding & Mitch Mitchell are nothing less than essential in the songs.
One year with my guitar class, I asked students to each submit names & vote for the “Best Guitarist Ever.” The task: defend your choice, convince the class in a presentation, show their nominee’s finest moment on YouTube.
To make it more interesting/less accurate, the 16 names were then placed randomly in a tournament bracket. Riots were narrowly avoided after, due to the fatal flaw of the bracket system (the luck of the draw), Jimmy Page & Jimi Hendrix ended up facing off far too early in round one!
There were some surprising omissions, some surprising choices, and a few surprising upsets in the early rounds.
Though I can’t say I was terribly surprised to see the overall winner:
He had style, he expanded musical boundaries, and most importantly, he wrote some great tunes.
Perhaps the only blemish on his songwriting resume isn’t even his fault!
Released twenty-one years after his death, Jimi is credited as a songwriter on what is universally considered one of the worst songs of all-time.
He had nothing to do with the lyrics but a guitar part from this album’s Third Stone from the Sun was sampled.
The song? The unforgettable, for better or worse at 1:15, I’m Too Sexy.