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Where to Start with Jimi Hendrix

The Must-Haves

The three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums are all must-have albums for any rock fan.  Each are a bit different from the other and depending on your interests, you can pick them up in any order, but here’s my buy order.

  • Electric Ladyland
  • 74 minutes of psychedelic rock glory, Electric Ladyland is one of the greatest albums in the history of rock music. It combines psychedelia, hard rock, funk, blues and a bit of everything else into one majestic bouillabaisse of sounds. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) is in my all time Top 10 songs, but listening to the entire album straight through is a somewhat religious experience that everyone needs to do at least once.

  •  Are You Experienced?
  • The first album from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967’s Are You Experienced? dropped to immediate acclaim. Driven by classics rock tracks like Foxy Lady & Manic Depression, the US version also added in the smash, Purple Haze to make it one of the best albums of all time.

  • Axis:Bold of Love
  • Released just 7 months after Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love follows closely in that LP’s footsteps, but with a few slower tempos. Two of my favorite Hendrix tracks, Little Wing & Castles Made of Sand are on Axis and make this the album I’ve probably listened to the most out of his catalog.

    His Final Release

    While Band of Gypsys was intended as a record to get him out of a record deal, but ended up being one of the best albums of all time.  Featuring Billy Cox on Bass and Buddy Miles on Drums, Hendrix lets his blues and funk roots loose and jams for 45 unforgettable minutes. If you haven’t listened to Machine Gun, then you have no idea what you’re missing.  

    His Massive Posthumous Catalog

    At the time of his death, Hendrix was recording songs for a fourth album. He was working on enough material for a double album and had sketched out possible track lists. However, only about six songs were nearing completion, with an additional twenty or so in different stages of development. 10 Tracks were finished and released as Cry of Love in 1971 to critical and commercial acclaim. Over the next few decades, and picking up speed in the 1990’s, there would be an additional 12 albums assembled from demos and partially completed tracks, to various levels of success.  The ones to check out after Cry of Love are 1997’s First Rays of the Rising Sun & South Saturn Delta and 2010’s Valleys of Neptune which have all been released since the Hendrix family won the rights to his material back.

    Live Albums

    It’s hard to imagine that there are many more Hendrix live tapes left in the vaults because so many have been released over the decades. Live at Woodstock, Winterland, Live at Monterey, Miami Pop Festival, Machine Gun:The Fillmore East First Show and a new show coming up on November 20, Live In Maui. It’s best to look for the tracklist that most fits your Hendrix greatest hits list and go from there.

    Be sure to check out our full Jimi Hendrix inventory here

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