Day 14. There’s a fair argument to be made that Jimi Hendrix was probably the most influential musician of the mid-20th century. His incendiary brand of guitar playing & the gritty, aggressive sonic textures he was able to wring from his instrument were pioneering & went on to inspire pretty much all modern Rock music. Many will dismiss this and say that the Kinks (or any number of other musicians) used distortion on their guitars, but that wholly fails to understand what it was about Hendrix’s sound that was so unique. It wasn’t just distorted, it was sustained & loose. It felt like Hendrix was guiding it rather than playing it. It sounded effortless & made generations of Rock fans a) want to play guitar & b) be massively underwhelmed by their own lack of ability.
Purple Haze is a funk inflected Blues Rock stomper. Waves of harmonic distortion crash against “blues & Eastern modalities” (Wikipedia). The psychedelic connotations which many fans & critics ascribed to the lyrics were brushed aside by Hendrix, who described Purple Haze as a “love song”.
Check out this live version from his set at the Atlanta Pop Festival, 1970. The same set where he played his famous rendition of the US national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To quote someone from the comments (with the respectable username Spongeboob 69): “His playing is so effortless he probably finds walking harder”.
Purple 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
Don’t know if I’m comin’ up or down
Am I happy or in misery?
What ever it is, that girl put a spell on me
Oh, no, no
Ooh, ah, yeah!
Purple haze all in my eyes
Don’t know if it’s day or night
You got me blowin’, blowin’ my mind
Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?
Ahh, yeah, yeah, purple haze
Oh, no, oh
Oh, help me
Tell me, tell me, purple haze
I can’t go on like this
(Purple haze) you’re makin’ me blow my mind
Purple haze, n-no, no
Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (BLM) Spotify playlist?
Buy Tom a coffee?
Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.