Published on August 27th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.0
Guitar Genius Beyond the Grave: Exploring Jimi Hendrix’s Posthumous Albums
For those who appreciate the golden era of rock, the name Jimi Hendrix rings bells of iconic riffs, electrifying guitar solos, and the raw sound that he introduced to the world. His premature death left fans clamoring for more. Thankfully, the vault discoveries didn’t disappoint, bringing forth numerous posthumous releases that have kept his legacy alive.
Born in a time when psychedelic rock was gaining momentum, Hendrix’s instrumental prowess marked a watershed moment in the music industry. With albums like “Electric Ladyland” and “Axis: Bold as Love,” he shaped a unique sound, blending blues influence and rock, making him an epitome of genre fusion.
Discovering Jimi Hendrix’s Vault
Jimi Hendrix, has had numerous posthumous releases since his death in 1970. Many of these are compilations, live albums, or alternate takes of previously released material. It’s important to understand that the number can be a bit muddied by the variety of repackaging and rereleases of previously available material.
The allure of Hendrix didn’t end with his death. The lost tapes and recording sessions have brought forth unreleased tracks, showcasing Hendrix’s musical evolution. From the rare cuts to the classic tracks, these albums are a treasure trove.
Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous studio albums and notable collections of unreleased material that have been released.
Studio Albums Releases
- The Cry of Love (1971)
- Rainbow Bridge (1971)
- War Heroes (1972)
- Loose Ends (1974)
- Crash Landing (1975)
- Midnight Lightning (1975)
- Nine to the Universe (1980)
- First Rays of the New Rising Sun (1997) – This is an attempt to reconstruct what might have been Hendrix’s fourth studio album, had he lived.
- Valleys of Neptune (2010)
- People, Hell and Angels (2013)
- Both Sides of the Sky (2018)
Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous releases provide an interesting perspective into both his brilliance as a musician and the complexities surrounding music industry practices and legacies.
When Jimi Hendrix died, he had been working on an ambitious double or even triple album project tentatively titled “First Rays of the New Rising Sun.” Much of the posthumous studio output revolves around the unfinished tracks from these sessions.
Many of the initial posthumous releases, especially albums like “Crash Landing” and “Midnight Lightning,” stirred controversy because producer Alan Douglas overdubbed contemporary session musicians over Hendrix’s original recordings, thereby replacing parts from the original Jimi Hendrix Experience members. Many fans and critics considered this to be a revisionist approach that didn’t respect Hendrix’s original intentions.
Rights and Ownership
The rights to Hendrix’s music have been a complex issue. Initially, these rights were controlled by parties other than the Hendrix family. However, in the 1990s, Jimi’s father, Al Hendrix, won back the rights to his son’s music. Since then, Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the family-owned company, has overseen the releases. This change in stewardship led to more respectful and accurate releases of Hendrix’s material.
Experience Hendrix Remasters
Since the late 1990s, under the direction of the Hendrix family, many of Jimi’s albums (both from his lifetime and posthumous releases) have been reissued with careful remastering. In particular, “First Rays of the New Rising Sun” was reconstructed to be as close as possible to what Hendrix may have intended for his fourth studio album. This effort has been seen as a way to rectify past misrepresentations of his posthumous works.
Apart from studio material, Hendrix’s live performances have also been the subject of many releases. These capture the raw energy and improvisational genius of Hendrix. Albums like “Band of Gypsys,” “Live at Woodstock,” “Live at the Fillmore East,” and “Live at Monterey” showcase different phases of his career and varying band line-ups.
With bootleg recordings circulating among fans for decades, Experience Hendrix decided to start releasing official bootleg-style recordings under the “Dagger Records” label. This effort was a way to offer fans high-quality versions of these unofficial releases.
The Legacy of Jimi Hendrix
The sheer volume of posthumous releases, and the often high-quality unreleased tracks they contain, speaks to Hendrix’s prodigious output during his short career. It underscores his role as a groundbreaking artist who was constantly evolving.
Our Picks for Jimi Hendrix’s Favorites
“Cry of Love” & “First Rays of the New Rising Sun”
With raw sound engineering, these albums encapsulated the emotional depth of Hendrix’s vocals. Songs like “Freedom” and “Angel” are a testament to Hendrix’s passion and songwriting abilities. “Cry of Love” was the first posthumous album release after Jimi Hendrix’s tragic death in September 1970. The album consists of tracks that Hendrix was working on for a new studio album, which he had tentatively titled “First Rays of the New Rising Sun.” The tracks in “Cry of Love” were the most finished of the ones he had been recording.
More than 25 years after “Cry of Love,” the Hendrix family, after gaining rights to Jimi’s music, decided to release “First Rays of the New Rising Sun.” This album is an attempt to realize Jimi Hendrix’s intention for his next album. It combines tracks from “Cry of Love” with other posthumously released songs from less accomplished albums like “War Heroes” and “Rainbow Bridge.”