Have you ever been experienced? Revisiting the 1967 debut and seminal The Jimi Hendrix Experience album “Are You Experienced?”

A timeless and influential Rock album that hasn’t aged a second since it’s original release

Have you ever been experienced? Revisiting the 1967 debut and seminal The Jimi Hendrix Experience album “Are You Experienced?”

One of Rock’s greatest debut albums of all time, “Are You Experienced?” established The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and in particular, Jimi Hendrix, as one of Rock’s biggest forces. Released on May 12, 1967, a golden year that saw many strong debuts from future influential bands and artists as well as many masterpieces of already established ones, this album it’s the base or essence for the music of Jimi Hendrix. With a string of hit singles in Europe that included “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze” (tracks left out of the original European release), “Are You Experienced?” indeed offers the listener a unique experience, and, if nowadays, you’ll somehow know what to expect even if you never listened to it, back in 1967 the impact was so strong that launched Hendrix into immediate stardom. Having arrived in Europe, specifically England, on the previous year, 1966, the Seattle born Jimi Hendrix found an immediate acceptance and response for his unique way of playing guitar and compositions. With Noel Redding on bass guitar and Mitch Mitchell on the drums, The Jimi Hendrix Experience remains one of the strongest and influential power-trios of all time. This timeless album hasn’t aged a second since it’s original release, it’s filled with unique songs and Hendrix’s expressive lyrics and music. Produced by former Animals bass player Chas Chandler, who in Rock history takes the credit for discovering Hendrix and bringing him to England, the album kicks with “Foxy Lady”, heavy, muscled and cutting-edge followed by “Manic Depression”, another one of Hendrix’s greatest songs. The psychedelic blues of “Red House”, one of the highlights in this album, features one of the most recognizable guitar intros in Rock music. Side one of the album features three more strong tracks, often forgotten, “Can You See Me”, “Love Or Confusion” and “I Don’t Live Today”, all three featuring some of the best Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics. And Hendrix was indeed a poet, a psychedelic poet that wrote lines about love, mysticism, and the universe. “May This Be Love”, perhaps one of the most psychedelic tracks on the album, offers a truly mystical experience to the listener, it’s one of Hendrix’s favorite, and sometimes known as “Waterfalls” due to the lyrics. And the classics don’t stop here, the explosive “Fire”, a proto-metal song, so heavy that can give you the actual sensation of burning. Stunning guitar solos, beautiful drum beats, and bass lines. “Fire” it’s an immortal song and has its place well firmed in the Rock music universe. The also psychedelic “Third Stone From The Sun”, one of Hendrix’s first attempt at the real studio experimentation, talks about the space, the stars, and features multiple layers and effects. In a way, it set the idea for the third album “Electric Ladyland”. “Remember” it’s a standard Pop Rock song, one with actual commercial potential but that ironically never achieve that success. The album closes with “Are You Experienced?”, this is the song that covers pretty much what this album is about, backward effects and guitar solos, a continuous smooth hypnotic groove, the perfect track to close this listening experience. Unfortunately, the American release of the album replace some of the songs with the European singles, “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe” and “The Wind Cries Mary”, yes all those are three great and memorable Hendrix classics, however, it’s disappointing that the actual concept in which the track-list was put on, was abandoned on the American version. Later that year, America welcomed Jimi Hendrix home at the Monterey Pop Festival, there, he made love with his guitar, kissed it and then destroyed it with fire, and nothing would be the same again. A recent reissue of the album compiles all the tracks of both European and American releases in a double LP that you can still find in stores for a very affordable price, mastered from the original tapes. If you have never listened to “Are You Experienced?”, do yourself a favor and give it a go, if it’s one of your favorite albums, remember today to revisit the experience. And go back at it as much as you want, because this, is a record that deserves it.

Side 1
1 “Foxy Lady”
2 “Manic Depression”
3 “Red House”
4 “Can You See Me”
5 “Love or Confusion”
6 “I Don’t Live Today”

Side 2
7 “May This Be Love”
8 “Fire”
9 “Third Stone from the Sun”
10 “Remember”
11 “Are You Experienced?”
All tracks written by Jimi Hendrix

Personnel
Jimi Hendrix: guitars, lead vocals
Noel Redding: bass; backing vocals on “Foxy Lady,” “Fire”
Mitch Mitchell: drums; backing vocals on “I Don’t Live Today”

Produced by:Chas Chandler
Recorded during:October 23, 1966 – April 4, 1967 at the De Lane Lea, CBS, & Olympic, London
Released: May 12, 1967
Label: Track

Singles:
“Hey Joe” Released: December 16, 1966
“Purple Haze” Released: March 17, 1967
“The Wind Cries Mary” Released: May 5, 1967

Strongest tracks:
All

Watch The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Foxy Lady” live at Miami Pop Festival, 1969

Listen to the album “Are You Experienced?” on Spotify

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