The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience ranked # 54 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums list.
Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, was released in 1968. This album is seen as the peak of Hendrix's mastery of the electric guitar, and it is frequently cited as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Not only the last Jimi Hendrix Experience album, it was also the last of Hendrix's
studio albums to be professionally produced under his own
supervision. After Electric Ladyland, Hendrix spent the remaining two
years of his life attempting to organize a new band and recording a
large number of musical tracks.
Released as a double album, Electric Ladyland is a cross-section of
Hendrix's wide range of musical talent. It includes samples of every
type of his music, ranging from psychedelia ("Burning of the Midnight
Lamp") to soul-turning, bluesy guitar jams (the live recording "Voodoo Chile"),
1950s-style rock and roll ("Little Miss Strange"), and the epic
studio production "1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)" that can be
afterwards seen as an early example of progressive rock. Hendrix also
recorded a cover version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"
that is seen by many (including Dylan himself) as its greatest
The recording of the album was extremely problematic. After a
troubled tour of Scandinavia and England, Hendrix decided to relocate
back to the United States from England. Frustrated by the limitations
of commercial recording, he decided to establish his own state-of-the-art multitrack studio in New York, to which he could have unlimited
access to realise his expanding musical visions. Construction of the
studio, called Electric Lady, was beset with problems and it was not
finally completed until mid 1970. As a result, he recorded the bulk
of Electric Ladyland at The Record Plant.
Hendrix's formerly disciplined work habits were also becoming
erratic, and the combination of interminable sessions and studios
filled with hangers-on finally led regular producer Chas Chandler to
quit in May, 1968. Chandler later complained that Hendrix's
insistence on doing multiple takes of every song ("Gypsy Eyes"
apparently took 43 takes, and he still wasn't satisfied with the
result), combined with what Chandler saw as Hendrix's drugged
incoherence, led him to sell his share of the management company to
his partner Mike Jeffrey. Hendrix's studio perfectionism was indeed
legendary -- he reportedly made guitarist Dave Mason do over 20 takes
of the acoustic guitar backing on "All Along the Watchtower" -- yet
he was always insecure about his voice and often recorded his vocals
hidden behind studio screens.
Despite the difficulties of its recording, many of the album tracks
show Hendrix's vision expanding far beyond the scope of the original
trio (it is said that the sound of this record partially inspired
Miles Davis' Bitches Brew) and saw him collaborating with a range of
outside musicians including Mason, Chris Wood and Steve Winwood from
Traffic; drummer Buddy Miles; Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady;
and former Dylan organist Al Kooper.
Co-operation between Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding was not working
very finely during the production of the album. Hendrix plays bass
tracks (with right hand bass guitar) on many tracks including bass
solo parts on "1983". While recording "All Along the Watchtower"
Redding went to a nearby bar for a beer and Hendrix took his bass.
Sometimes Hendrix recorded bass tracks just in order to make things
go on faster. Redding plays acoustic guitar on his own track, "Little
In the final stages of the album's production, a studio technician
renamed the album "Electric Landlady." The album was almost released
under this title until Hendrix noticed it, which upset him
considerably. The title was quickly changed back.
Electric Ladyland was first released in the US in September 1968 and
became Hendrix's only #1 album. The UK edition reached #5 upon its
October release, came with a different and very controversial cover.
With the artwork not reaching the UK in time to press the album, a
cover of naked women lounging in front of a black background was
issued in its place, causing considerable reaction. The US cover,
what Hendrix had intended, has since become the official cover of
Electric Ladyland internationally. Hendrix's family, who own the
rights to the album and most of his catalogue, has stated that the
original UK cover will not be used anymore since Hendrix did not
himself like it. There exists a rare CD issue from 1980s that
features the original UK cover.
- ... And The Gods Made Love
- Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
- Crosstown Traffic
- Voodoo Chile
- Little Miss Strange
- Long Hot Summer Night
- Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)
- Gypsy Eyes
- Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
- Rainy Day, Dream Away
- 1983 ... (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
- Moon, Turn The Tides ... Gently Gently Away
- Still Raining, Still Dreaming
- House Burning Down
- All Along The Watchtower
- Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
100 Greatest Albums of All Time
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