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Jimi Hendrix, born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington, was a revolutionary guitarist and songwriter. Rising to prominence in the 1960s, he became an emblem of the counterculture movement. Jim Hendrix’s innovative approach to the electric guitar, characterized by feedback, distortion, and unprecedented techniques, left an indelible mark on rock music.

Jimi Hendrix’s journey to stardom began in the U.S. Army, but it took 4 years on the ‘Chitlin’ Circuit‘ to find his calling in the Greenwich Village music scene. The formation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London catapulted Jimi Hendrix to international fame. Hits like “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” and “All Along the Watchtower” showcased his eclectic style, blending blues, rock, and psychedelia.

Tragically, Jimi Hendrix’s career was cut short when Hendrix died on September 18, 1970, at the age of 27. Despite his brief time in the spotlight, Jimi Hendrix remains an enduring icon, remembered not only for his musical achievements but also for redefining the possibilities of the electric guitar. Jimi Hendrix’s legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians worldwide, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music“.

Today we embark on the impossible task of selecting the top 10 songs from any artist and putting them online for others to read—a somewhat audacious endeavor. Yet, when it comes to our musical universe, Jimi Hendrix reigns supreme. According to the musical voyage on Spotify, Musiclipse explores 3.452 artists and Jimi Hendrix claims the throne as the most heard, placing us among the 0.01% of the most dedicated fans.

So, instead of writing the well-known hits, this is a heart-driven and personal selection—a genuine pleasure to share with fellow enthusiasts or those just stepping into the captivating world of arguably the greatest guitarist, or rather, instrumentalist of the 20th century. Dive into the list below, and let it be your gateway to the boundless realm crafted by the maestro himself.

 

Top 10 Best Jimi Hendrix Songs Of All Time (Ranked)

 

10 – ” Angel” (The Cry of Love, 1971)

 

Six months after his death, Jimi Hendrix lived again in March 1971 when “Angel”, was featured on his posthumous studio album, “The Cry of Love”. Written and self-produced by Jimi Hendrix, he recorded it for his planned fourth studio album just months before his death in September 1970.

Simultaneously, the song was released as a single A-side in the United Kingdom and as a B-side in the United States. This marked the beginning of an enduring commitment to maintaining the legacy of the late guitarist, and “Angel”, with its glistening moments and poignant chorus, stands out as a beautiful ballad in Jimi Hendrix’s repertoire.

 

09 – “Hear My Train a Comin” (Blues, 1994)

 

“Hear My Train A Comin'” finds a notable presence in Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous release, “Blues,” featuring studio outtakes never originally intended for release. The song, inspired by American spirituals and blues, showcases Jimi Hendrix’s mastery of both electric and acoustic guitars.

Documented in various settings from 1967 to 1970, the 1970 Berkeley Community Theatre recording is hailed as the definitive version, epitomizing Hendrix’s prowess. Its inclusion in the film “Experience” and subsequent releases, like “People, Hell and Angels,” underscores the enduring legacy of this blues-rock gem.

 

08 – “Foxy Lady” (Are You Experience, 1967)

 

Jimi Hendrix once again touched the essence of eternity through the timeless allure of “Foxy Lady” aka “Foxey Lady”. This rare gem maintains a perpetual freshness, resonating with each new generation. His playing exudes vitality and flawlessness, ensuring the iconic riff never ages. Share this musical legacy with your kids, so they, in turn, can pass it on to the generations yet to come.

“Foxy Lady” is a standout track by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, featured on their 1967 debut album, “Are You Experienced”. Released as their third single in the U.S., the song is a cornerstone of Jimi Hendrix’s repertoire, earning a spot at number 153 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.

 

07 – “The Wind Cries Mary” (Are You Experience, 1967)

 

Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” emerged from a tumultuous moment with his girlfriend, Kathy Mary Etchingham, marked by a food fight. Jimi Hendrix channeled this brawl into a poignant rock ballad, a reconciliatory ode to Etchingham.

The lyrics, borrowing from Jimi Hendrix’s earlier poetry, depict the aftermath of their clash, with lines symbolizing the shattered remnants of their argument. The song, born from a stormy episode, became the band’s third single and remains a testament to Jimi Hendrix’s ability to transform personal turmoil into timeless musical expressions.

 

06 – “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” (The Rainbow Bridge, 1971)

 

“Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” stands as a testament to Jimi Hendrix’s musical evolution, prominently featured on his second posthumous album, “Rainbow Bridge” (1971). Over two years in the making, the song underwent various titles and incarnations, culminating in its debut during 1970 The Cry of Love Tour.

Jimi Hendrix’s intricate guitar work, marked by Spanish flamenco-style embellishments, became a live performance highlight, creating an atmospheric soundscape. The released studio version, recorded at Electric Lady Studios, exemplifies Jimi Hendrix’s innovative use of the Uni-Vibe guitar effects unit.

Despite its status as a work in progress, “Hey Baby” resonates with a lonesome yearning, echoing Jimi Hendrix’s recurring theme of an idealized feminine figure. Critics lauded its expressive hope and unique guitar textures. Numerous live recordings attest to the song’s enduring impact on Jimi Hendrix’s repertoire, capturing the essence of his evolving sound during pivotal moments in his career.

 

05 – “Machine Gun” (Band of Gypsys, 1970)

 

“Machine Gun” is hailed as a pinnacle in Jimi Hendrix’s repertoire, often revered as his best guitar solo ever. Originally recorded for the 1970 Band of Gypsys album with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles the song is dedicated to soldiers in Vietnam. Clocking in at 12 minutes, the performance masterfully captures the essence of war through Jimi Hendrix’s controlled feedback, mimicking helicopters, explosions, and gunfire.

 

04 – “Little Wing” (Axis: Bold as Love, 1967)

 

“Little Wing,” a transcendent musical creation by Jimi Hendrix, finds an exquisite redemption in the illustrious setting of the Royal Albert Hall. This soul-stirring masterpiece, rooted in personal inspiration from experiences in Greenwich Village and the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, takes on new life within the iconic walls of the Royal Albert Hall.

Recorded during meticulous sessions for the 1967 album Axis: Bold as Love, “Little Wing” stands as a testament to Jimi Hendrix’s unparalleled guitar skills, shaped by influences like R&B legend Curtis Mayfield. The ethereal lyrics, portraying an idealized feminine figure and possibly inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s mother, Lucille Jeter, create a dreamlike atmosphere.

Beyond Hendrix’s rendition, the song’s enduring influence is evident in the homage paid by artists like Eric Clapton. Its recognition by Rolling Stone as one of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” further solidifies its place in musical history.

 

03 – “Purple Haze” (Are You Experienced, 1967)

 

“Purple Haze,” penned by Jimi Hendrix and released in 1967, stands as a groundbreaking musical composition. This iconic track showcases Hendrix’s innovative guitar style, marked by the distinctive Hendrix chord and a fusion of blues and Eastern influences, enriched by avant-garde sound techniques.

A staple in Hendrix’s live performances, “Purple Haze” gained acclaim, securing a spot on various “greatest songs” lists. Its enduring legacy underscores Hendrix’s impact on the evolution of rock and his mastery of the guitar.

The lyrics shrouded in ambiguity, have been interpreted as describing a psychedelic experience, though Hendrix himself framed it as a love song. In the context of Jimi Hendrix’s song “Purple Haze,” the line “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky” is a distinctive lyric that has been subject to various interpretations. Hendrix himself stated that it reflected a state of ecstasy or a feeling of being in a daze, emphasizing the song’s psychedelic atmosphere.

 

02 – “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” (Electric Ladyland, 1968)

 

In this masterful improvisation, Jimi Hendrix seamlessly redefines the blues, infusing it with his distinctive touch. The use of the wah-wah pedal adds a vocal-like quality to Hendrix’s guitar lines, while his rhythmic artistry solidifies the E7#9 chord as synonymous with his name, now commonly referred to as “The Hendrix Chord.” “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” stands as a testament to Hendrix’s brilliance, a timeless composition that continues to sound as vibrant and impactful as the day it was recorded.

Recorded in 1968 by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, this track serves as the final piece on the Electric Ladyland album. Featuring improvised guitar wizardry and Hendrix’s soulful vocals, backed by Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums, the song not only became a fixture in Hendrix’s live performances but also achieved posthumous success as a single, securing the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart in November 1970. Rolling Stone magazine acknowledged its enduring significance, ranking it at 101 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

 

01 – “All Along the Watchtower” (Electric Ladyland, 1968)

 

This cover of a Bob Dylan folk song surpasses the original in fame and influence. It features some of Jimi Hendrix’s most melodic guitar lines, including non-traditional slide parts allegedly executed with a Zippo lighter. Every band plays it sooner or later, and it’s a staple on classic rock stations.

In ’67, Hendrix repeatedly played this overlooked track on Dylan’s John Wesley Harding LP, finding a deeper layer beyond its rudimentary structure. Jimi Hendrix, a devoted Dylan fan, felt a profound connection with this song. “All Along The Watchtower” was arguably the greatest Jimi Hendrix song, and at the same time the greatest rock cover song ever.

 

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