Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Five Reasons Hendrix Is For Everyone

“Portrait of Jimi Hendrix” (c) Stuart Hampton,

Forty years ago the man made four records and then he died.  Since then he’s been suspended in amber, the wild man with the headband and the flaming guitar.  I like that version of Hendrix, but it’s terribly unfortunate that a man so complex has been reduced to a single cardboard cutout.  Jimi Hendrix was a gifted songwriter and musician who accomplished much more than feedback and fireworks.

So if you’re not a card-carrying member of the Cult of Hendrix,  set aside what you think you know and go find these five reasons that everyone can appreciate Jimi:

1)  “Belly Button Window”:   For your baby sister, even if she hasn’t been born yet.  As far as I know this is the only blues song ever written from a fetus’s point of view.


2) “Castles Made of Sand”:   Hendrix was an outstanding storyteller, and “Castles Made of Sand” is his finest story song.  Goosebump music.

3) “Hear My Train A Coming” (acoustic):  The river running through all of Jimi’s music was the blues, and never is that more obvious than hearing the man alone, accompanied only by his  own 12-string.

4) “Angel”:  Jimi could tear up a ballad.  “Angel” and “Little Wing” have been covered by….everybody.  Even Sting took the time to ruin “Little Wing.”  Did I say that out loud?

5)  “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”:   So funky it would put James Brown on the good foot.

Categories: Deep Cuts, Music

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9 replies »

  1. Forty years ago the man made four records and then he died.

    When I was growing up in Detroit (Day-twa for the poseurs there), on the 10th anniv of his death someone went into the public radio station – WDET – with a box of bootleg tapes and the station played them for a week on the old show “Morphogenesis”. Cool stuff all around.

    Anyway, this was hours and hours and houuuurs of bootleg stuff. Can you imagine what kind of stoner’s heaven this was?!?!?

    Anyway, there’s lots of Jimi’s stuff out there. Way more than the 5 songs they play on the radio. Lots of folks have good stuff. I think I used to, and maybe someone we know has it now…

    And thanks for helping me to remember that a couple DJs at WDET used to let some skinny teenager hang out in the studio during the classical and jazz shows. I learned so much.


    • You know, it’s true of so many artists. I wonder how many people know how much acoustic music Led Zeppellin made for example, or are aware of John Denver’s brief flirtation with Swedish death metal.


      • True story: I was doing a bike tour down the coast ans was in Monterey when his plane went down.



  2. It’s an interesting take, that someone can be for everyone. In my experience, no, no reference to Jimmy here, there is someone out there who is absolutely without equivocation not into some of my favorite most influential artists – no matter how hard I try. I give this one to you, I don’t have the courage or want to put myself out there in this situation.

    On a side note, James & Kel, what would happen if the cult of Jimmy met the cult of John D. and decided to mash up a mellow country boy version of Purple Haze?

    Would it be good? Yes, I think so.


    • Of course you’re right — there’s no way my ninety year-old grandmother is going to get on the Jimi train. My secret wish, though, is that someone — anyone — will take a moment to look beyond the two dimensions of what they think they know about any artist, not just Hendrix. Okay, maybe not “any.” I think we’re pretty settled on the Milli Vanilli question.


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