Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced Album

On March 9th of this year Dave at A Sound Day published this post I wrote for his Turntable Talk series. Dave stated: Let’s look at an artist whose debut really impressed you. It can be one that just knocked you out first time you heard it when it was brand new, or one you went back & discovered later.

I went through some debut albums before I came to this. I already wrote up Big Star’s debut for another blogger but the other that came to mind was The Cars. For me, that was their best album although they had some great albums later. I then thought of Jimi’s debut…and that was that. There is more than one version of Jimi Hendrix’s debut album released. I will go by the one I first owned when I was around 11…the US version.

I think about 1967 and what people must have thought when they heard this strange new artist. It must have sounded like an alien coming down from another planet. Being at the ripe old age of 4 months old…I don’t quite remember it. His guitar playing was first felt by other guitarists. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and the other huge guitarists back at that time. They were shocked when they saw him perform on stage.  He was “found” by Animals bassist turned manager Chas Chandler in New York. He took Jimi to England and formed a band around him…it didn’t take long after that.

Jimi’s debut album was released on May 12, 1967. The tracklist is incredible. A lineup of songs that still get played over 50 years later on the radio. To make it even stronger…Hendrix wrote all of the songs but one…Hey Joe, his breakout hit in the UK.

Purple Haze
Manic Depression
Hey Joe
Love or Confusion
May This Be Love
I Don’t Live Today
The Wind Cries Mary
Third Stone from the Sun
Foxy Lady
Are You Experienced?

The album had many now-rock classics. They were not rock songs easily accessible to the audience as other performers. He mixed experimental technics along with well-written and performed songs. Before Zeppelin came along, Hendrix gave rock its sonic boom. The album peaked at #5 on The Billboard Album Charts, #15 in Canada, and #2 on the UK Charts in 1967.

I’ve never heard a guitar player take the guitar to a far-off place like Hendrix. It wasn’t just his playing which was some of the best…it was his vision and the sounds he got out of the guitar that was so amazing. Every guitar player that came after him would get unfairly compared. He wasn’t just a guitar player though…he was a singer/songwriter who created 3 classic rock albums that still are revered. He was the complete package…not a traditional voice, but he got his point across and wrote his songs to fit him…and it worked.

He also evidently had a huge backlog of recordings and live concerts that keep being released. The man must have recorded in his sleep.

The “new” Jimi Hendrix tag has been unfairly placed on many guitar players. From Stevie Ray Vaughn to Eddie Van Halen, many more faded out. Hendrix would mess with this guitar…changing pickups and recording techniques. He had a sound all his own…when you hear a Hendrix record you know it’s him by just his guitar playing. Now when I listen to him…I hear the guitar players that followed…from the finger tap from Eddie to the straight-in-your-face riffs of Stevie Ray Vaughn…Jimi had done it all before.

Like Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen…they would let themselves go on stage. They would take it as far as they could and if they messed up…they messed up but the fans got to see an electrifying performance. When Joplin and Hendrix left us…they left a huge hole in rock performers and when both were peaking in making albums. Both Hendrix and Joplin left and their last studio albums peaked at #1. Jimi’s came two years before his death and Janis just a few days after she passed.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

35 thoughts on “Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced Album”

  1. Good album and thanks again for doing it for the Turntable Talk bit. A bit like The Cars in as much as seems like get their first album and you have most of their ‘essential’ tracks right there. ‘ind Cries Mary’ is high on my list of favorites of his.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish he had lived long enough to start that jazz band with Bobby Lyle. That would have been interesting to hear. To be honest, I never quite understood what the big deal was with Hendrix until much later. It would drive me crazy when Guitar Player or Guitar World would run yet another cover story about him. I’d be like “He’s dead! He’s been dead for 20 years!” Now I can appreciate his playing, now that everyone’s not saying “Hendrix is God!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean John. If someone gets too much pub…it gets on my nerves…I was like that with Michael Jackson…I liked him as a child singing but never got into him much as an adult and he was basically a God in the 80s.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Leaves had a hit with “Hey Joe” in 1966 (after their earlier recording went nowhere). It was also recorded by The Standells (“Dirty Water” was their big hit), The Byrds, Love (“She Comes in Colors”), and the Surfaris (“Wipeout”). It was a garage band standard. When Hendrix slowed it down to play it as a ballad, it became a new song. Bands in those days sometimes played both versions, or combined them, starting with the ballad and then shifting into high gear for the garage band finish. This album produced several songs that everyone tried to cover (and everyone had strobes! – sometimes faked with a lightbulb and a rotating baffle [like a Leslie speaker] if they couldn’t afford to buy a strobe light).

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    1. I visited an old music store around 5 years ago…they had a vintage Leslie Speaker cabinet…my mouth watered…but the $2500 dollar price cooled me out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And somewhere, in some boarded up ex-record and second hand instrument store, underneath a decent dusting of tattered Rolling Stones and record sleeves lies a Lesley, silent, unplugged and unseen… Galling to know that it could be true, and the owner of the store would PAY you to clean it all out and haul all that old crap away!
        Sorry! But, seeing how and where my ‘mind’ goes, how goes the hunt for the rare Lesser Rusted Opel GT?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. How I wish Obbverse!
        I’m finding more “finished” ones for around 5-10,000 which that won’t work…I will find that cheap one begging to be fixed up that is calling out to me.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My guitar through…I’m not strong on keyboards. I do record and I have a Leslie effect…but nothing is as good as the real thing.

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  4. As I previously noted on Dave’s blog, I think it’s a great pick. It’s funny, for the longest time I only knew “Hey Joe,” which I liked from the get-go. Eventually, I got a greatest hits sampler, and it took me a while to embrace other Jimi Hendrix songs. That was many moons ago and I now really dig many of his songs. Especially, the U.S. edition of “Are You Experienced” is great. In addition to “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”, “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Foxey Lady” are all gems in my book. I cannot believe the UK & European edition didn’t have “Purple Haze”, one of my all-time favorites by Hendrix!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know…I can’t believe they didn’t have that either. That is basically his signature song I would say. I never thought of it when thinking about debut albums but when I looked at it…I thought…wow this was great!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve looked this one over on great debut albums…well this IS one. I think because I had a couple of compilation albums…this one got lost in the shuffle

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      1. When I started CB I roughly chronicled my listening journey. This was one of the very first records I heard (thanks to older brothers record pile). Cream, Traffic, Fleetwood Mac, Santana …. you see where I was influenced. Who says we aren’t products of our environment. I didnt lean to heavy on my sisters side, more pop. This Hendrix etc sound just found a home in my head.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yea that makes sense CB… my sister was heavily into Osmonds and I was only 7-8…thank goodness the Beatles rescued me lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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