From Hey Joe to Izabella
UK RELEASES IN HENDRIX'S LIFETIME :
Hey Joe / Stone Free - December 1966 (Polydor 56139)
Purple Haze / 51st Anniversary - March 1967 (Track 604 001)
The Wind Cries Mary / Highway Chile - May 1967 (Track 604 004)
Burning Of The Midnight Lamp / The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice - August 1967 (Track 604 007)
All Along The Watchtower/Long Hot Summer Night - September 4, 1968 (Reprise) then on Track 604 025 two weeks later.
Curtis Knight & Jimi Hendrix:
How Would You Feel/You Don't Want Me - September 1967 (Track 604 009) *
Crosstown Traffic/Gypsy Eyes - April 1969 (Track 604 029)
(Let Me Light Your) Fire/Burning Of The Midnight Lamp - October 1969 (Track 604 033)
That last single was simply "Fire" with a different title.
US RELEASES IN HENDRIX'S LIFETIME :
Hey Joe/51st Anniversary - June 1967 (Reprise 0572)
Purple Haze/The Wind Cries Mary - August 1967 (Reprise 0597)
Foxy Lady/Hey Joe - November 1967 (Reprise 0641)
Up From the Skies/One Rainy Wish - 1968 (Reprise 0665)
All Along the Watchtower/Burning of the Midnight Lamp - September 1968 (Reprise 0767)
Crosstown Traffic/Gypsy Eyes - November 1968 (Reprise 0792)
Stone Free/lf 6 Was 9 - December 1969 (Reprise 0853)
lzabella / Stepping Stone/- June 1970 (Reprise 0905)
* These were two pre-Experience songs put out by Track as part of a settlement deal with Ed Chalpin's PPX Enterprises.
The following singles were the first appearances of the songs on record:
HEY JOE (Billy Roberts) / STONE FREE
Released December 1966 (Polydor)
Jimi had played "Hey Joe" even when he was unknown in Greenwich Village New York as Jimmy James. The Billy Roberts song was already quite well known in the States, having been already covered by Love, The Byrds and the lesser known Leaves. Jimi's reading is built on a version by folk artist Tim Rose. In fact the backing vocal treatment is exactly like on Rose's version*.
Jimi's version has become the definitive version of course. The opening six notes seize one's attention right away and his half spoken determined vocals add to the songs power. The brief guitar solo was enough to show that Jimi was the one to reckon with from here on. When playing live he would sometimes throw in a brief reference to The Beatles "I Feel Fine".
Playing in New York in August 1968 in Queens, Jimi dedicated the song to Tim Rose and the Village people (no, not the "Y.M.C.A." Village People, the Greenwich Village people !).
Jimi had wanted to do "Land Of A Thousand Dances" for the B-side but Chas demanded that he compose something original. Jimi came up with"Stone Free", a swaggering funky rock track which needs no introduction from me. Jeff Beck confessed once (on a Radio One tribute to Jimi) that the guitar solo always made him freeze on the spot). The Experience later re-recorded "Stone Free" in 1969, for possible inclusion on the US "Smash Hits". That version later turned up with posthumous overdubs on Alan Douglas' "Crash Landing" album in the seventies and then on the MCA 2000 box set in its original form.
"Stone Free" wasn't the first song that Jimi wrote, Linda Kieth said she had heard him working on some songs (which later became famous) when she had befriended him in New York in the late summer of 1966.
This legendary single was pressed with a red Polydor label (Track's distributor) for a rush release.
There is a site dedicated to the song "Hey Joe" ! It has information on the song's author Billy Roberts. - HEY JOE VERSIONS
* Tim Rose was furious when he heard Jimi's version. An incredibly cosmic coincidence : back in 1963, Rose teamed up with Casse Elliot (later of Mamas & The Papas) and a certain Jim Hendricks (!) (to form the folk trio The Big 3.
The (NME) UK chart when "Hey Joe" was in the Top Ten:
1. I'm A Believer - The Monkees
2. Let's Spend The Night Together - The Rolling Stones
3. This Is My Song - Petula Clark
4. Mathew And Son - Cat Stevens
5. I've Been A Bad Bad Boy - Paul Jones
6. Night Of fear - The Move
7. Hey Joe - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
8. The Green Green Grass Of Home - Tom Jones
9. Release Me - Engelert Humperdink
10. I'm A Man - Spencer Davis Group
"Hey Joe" reached N°6
PURPLE HAZE / (51st ANNIVERSARY
Released March1967 (Track)
This must be the ultimate psychedelic rock song. The opening crunching monster walk creates the excitement before the famous riff kicks in. Jimi's confidence on this track is incredible. Vocals and guitar gel together to perfection as the song builds to a climax backed with piercing sustain. Here, Jimi really arrives as a writer of classic rock music. The flip is Jimi's assertion that he certainly ain't ready to settle down with any chick, Man, and features some irresistible choppy rhythm guitar lines. For many years, only a purchase of the UK "Smash Hits" permitted to hear this little gem.
> The intro was perhaps inspired by the opening notess of Sun Ra's "India" (the first track on his "Supersonic Jazz" album of 1956).
The (NME) UK chart when "Purple Haze" was in the Top Ten:
1. Puppet On A String - Sandie Shaw
2. Somethin' Stupid - Frank & Nancy Sinatra
3. A Little Bit Of You, A Little Bit Of Me - The Monkees
4. Ha ! Ha ! Said The Clown - Manfred Mann
5. Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
6. Release Me - Engelert Humperdink
7. Bernadette - The Four Tops
8. I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun - Cat Stevens
9. Seven Drunken Nights - The Dubliners
10. Dedicated To The One I Love - Mamas And The Papas
"Purple Haze" reached N°3
THE WIND CRIES MARY / HIGHWAY CHILE
Released May 1967 (Track)
Released at the same time as the Experience's first album "Are You Experienced", the mood shifts here to a beautiful gentle ballad with a charming lyric. Incredibly, Jimi introduced this song to Mitch and Noel in the studio and they immediately recorded it, all in just twenty minutes ! "Highway Chile" is a more up-tempo rock track where Jimi recalls his days as a travelling hobo of a musician ("... his dusty boots is his cadillac"). Chas Chandler had preferred the mono mix for the single and the stereo version appeared only recently on the MCA box set. The mono version had also been put on "War Heroes" as a filler back in the early seventies.
The (NME) UK chart when "The Wind Cries Mary" was in the Top Ten:
1. Silence Is Golden - The Tremeloes
2. Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
3. Dedicated To The One I Love - Mamas And The Papas
4. Pictures Of Lily - The Who
5. Puppet On A String - Sandie Shaw
6. Then I Kissed Her - The Beach Boys
7.The Wind Cries Mary - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
8. The Boat That I Row - Lulu
9. Seven Drunken Nights - The Dubliners
10. Somethin' Stupid - Frank & Nancy Sinatra
"The Wind Cries Mary" reached N°6
BURNING OF THE MIDNIGHT LAMP / THE STARS THAT PLAY WITH LAUGHING SAMS DICE
Released August 1967 (Track)
After three stunning singles Jimi showed another aspect of his music with this complex classically-inspired epic of a song. With its Spectorian production, it seemed just too huge to be contained on a 45 r.p.m. piece of plastic.
This is no longer the swaggering independant space rocker speaking, as Jimi's lyrics talk of loneliness and despair ("... its a little more than enough to make a man throw himself away"). Electrified harpsichord melts into searing distorted guitar, matching the singer's desperate vocals. A gigantic track which Jimi was obviously very fond of, as he included it on "Electric Ladyland" (released over a year later), perhaps because he felt that it really deserved a cleaner pressing for better separation. In a February 1968 interview in Disc & Music Echo, Jimi said that he intended to re-record the song ! "I liked that song but I dont think people really understood it" he said.
The B-side is a load of fun as Jimi takes us all on a "Magical Mystery Tour" to outer space ("... if you look out of the window you will see Mars"). The title is a sort of joke capitalising on the suggestion that had been made that The Beatle's "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was an intended pun about L.S.D. (Lennon later denied this). Jimi makes his guitar practically talk with the Wah-Wah break at the beginning of the song before he revs it up to Warp-Factor 10 for a blistering guitar solo. That solo was mixed down on the single to flow with the whole swirling "trip", however the song was re-released later on "Loose Ends" (and ultimately on "South Saturn Delta") with the guitar solo much clearer in the mix.
The original single mix disappeared while Alan Dougles was in charge of the back catalogue but it reappeared on the 2002 re-release of "Smash Hits", "The Singles Collection" in 2003 and on the Sony re-release of the purple box set.
> The celestial choir-like backing vocals on "Midnight Lamp" were by Aretha Franklin's singers The Sweet Inspirations!.
"The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" reached N°18 in the UK charts?
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER/BURNING OF THE MIDNIGHT LAMP
Released Reprise Records - September 4 1968
This was released in the USA first, a month before "Electric Ladyland". It is one of Jimi's most accomplished arrangements where he perfectly conveys his love of Bob Dylans music. The Experience already had "Like A Rolling Stone" (and very occaisionally "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window") in their repertoire, but Jimi gave it all for this song. The arrangement is perfect, the guitar playing just beautiful and it features one of his best vocal tracks (guitar man number one, okay, but Jimi was also a fantastic singer). He put most of the song together in London, where Dave mason of Traffic and Brian Jones of The Stones helped out (on acoustic guitar and percussion repectlively). Their contributions really do enhance the overall sound, with Mason's and Jimi's shimmering acoustic guitars blending in perfectly and Jones' clattering percussion giving that last perfect touch. The original Olympic Studios mix (with Chas Chandler at the helm) turned up later on the album "South Saturn Delta". Back in the states, Jimi (forever the perfectionnist) refined the mix to produce one of his most outstandiing acheivements.
The song took on so much power as even Dylan himself took to performing the song as an echo of Jimi's reading of it (check out the "Before The Flood" album with The Band).
The UK single (with "Long Hot Summer Night" as the B-side) was released on September 18, two days after the US release of "Electric Ladyland".
"All Along The Watchtower" reached N°5 in the UK charts.
IZABELLA / STEPPING STONE
Released June 1970 (Reprise)
Tired of waiting for Jimi to produce a new album, Reprise put this out behind Jimi's back in the summer of 1970. These are rough mixes of The Band Of Gypsys in the studio, blasting through a couple of great new songs from Jimi's repertoire. On "Izabella" there are some delicious soulful backing vocals. "Stepping Stone" is quite breathtaking when Jimi lets loose as it careers towards its growling climax. You can hear, I presume, Eddie Kramer say "Made it !" as the band crash to a halt (just before the tape ran out ?). Jimi was working on these songs in 1970 and he went on to build near finished masters with Mitch Mitchell drum tracks. Those versions later appeared on the posthumous "War Heroes" and ultimately on "First rays Of The New Rising Sun".
Some Hendrix compilations ("Kiss The Sky", "Cornerstones" and more recently "Voodoo Child"), claimed to include these rare rough mixes of"Izabella" /"Stepping Stone" but Steve Espinola informs me that the compilations feature slightly different mixes. Furthermore, yet another alternate mix turned up on a Warner Brothers various artists compilation called "Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies". Check this forum discussion.
After Jimis death came UK singles of "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" (3 track E.P.), "Gypsy Eyes" (4 track E.P.), "Angel", Johnny B. Goode" (Berkeley), "Fire" (Winterland), a "6 Singles Pack" (released at the same time as a 12 album pack), Gloria" (as an import Australian 12"), and many more songs in a variety of 7",12", picture discs, you name it.
6 SINGLES PACK
Released 1980 (Polydor)
A six single pack was released at the same time as a 12 album box set (see Compilations) featuring five original UK singles (omitting "Fire") plus "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" which was a posthumous UK number 1and backed with "Gloria" for this release (originally it was backed with "Hey Joe" and "All Along The Watchtower").
Hey Joe / Stone Free, Purple Haze/ 51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary / Highway Chile, Burning of the Midnight Lamp / The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, All Along the Watchtower / Long Hot Summer Night, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Gloria
THE JIMI HENDRIX CLASSIC SINGLES COLLECTION
Released 1999 (MCA)
Stone Free /Hey Joe, Up From The Skies /Gypsy Eyes, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Room Full Of Mirrors, The Wind Cries Mary/Fire, Little Wing/Spanish Castle Magic, Purple Haze /Foxey Lady, All Along The Watchtower, Long Hot Summer Night, Crosstown Traffic/If 6 Was 9, Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming, Freedom/Angel
A collection of 7" singles (10,000 numbered copies) in a box set and features 10 reproduction 45 RPMs in picture sleeves, pressed on 180g vinyl.
> SEE THE SLEEVES
THE SINGLES COLLECTION
10 CD singles:
Hey Joe/Stone Free, Purple Haze/51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary/Highway Chile, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp/The Stars That Play With Laughin' Sam's Dice, Foxy Lady/ Manic Depression, Crosstown Traffic/Gypsy Eyes, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Hey Joe/All Along The Watchtower, Stepping Stone/Izabella, Dolly Dagger/Night Bird Flying, Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night /Auld Lang Syne/Three Little Bears
Check out this great site dedicated to singles with loads of info about Hendrix records.
> SEE SINGLES COVERS <
Singles/EPs/Maxis - scans
If you thought I was bonkers, check out what Mandrake got up to here.
Pages and pages of quality scans of singles (sleeves and labels) from all over the world.
Check out also his scans of pre-Experience recordings albums.
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"If My Daddy could see me now"