The Jimi Hendrix Experience magnus opus, “Electric Ladyland”

“Electric Ladyland” was released in the U.K on October 25, 1968

The Jimi Hendrix Experience magnus opus, “Electric Ladyland”

“Eletric Ladyland” it’s often regarded as Jimi Hendrix’s maguns opus, the double album, released on October 16th in the U.S and on October 25th in the U.K, 1968, features an eclectic choice of different music styles,from Rock to Funk, to Psychedelic to Blues, it is the most diverse of all Hendrix’s albums. Though still a The Jimi Hendrix Experience album, this was mainly a solo Hendrix vision, produced by him and featuring himself as a musician in parts such as Bass, this was the period where the Experience started to distance from each other, and the recording of “Electric Ladyland” certainly put a lot of pressure on the band, due to Hendrix’s demands of perfection, but despite it the album features some notable guests such as The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady and Traffic’s Steve Winwood, who played bass and organ respectively on the fifteen-minute slow-blues jam, “Voodoo Chile”. The album features some of Hendrix’s most well known songs such as “Crosstown Traffic”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and the Bob Dylan cover “All Along the Watchtower”.”Electric Ladyland” it’s a milestone in Rock music, this album it’s perfect from many point of views, and it was the last time Hendrix was able to work consistently in studio composing music, during the next two years due to his substance abuse the musician struggled to repeat the same sales success of the three Experience albums and his music became not necessarily more sophisticated but more experimental and complex, reflecting his state of mind.  “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” it’s what can be considered the track that sums up the album, a song based entirely on studio experiment and production, and this is what Hendrix wanted to achieve with “Electric Ladyland”, the results of the studio as a lab for a musician just like an alchemist experimenting with diverse formulas. Also curious is the inclusion of the 60’s Britpop song composed and sung by Noel Redding “Little Miss Strange”. “Eletric Ladyland” perphaps it’s not the best Hendrix album to start with if you’re new to his music, usually, “Are You Experienced?” it’s much more approachable and easy, but “Electric Ladyland” it’s indeed his masterpiece, ironically, despite all the effort put up in the original songs, “All Along the Watchtower” became the band’s highest-selling single and their only US top 40 hit.



Album Art

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The cover art of “Electric Ladyland” was the subject of controversy due to the decision of Track Records in the U.K using a photo of by photographer David Montgomery, who also shot the inside cover portrait of Hendrix, depicting nineteen nude women lounging in front of a black background. Hendrix expressed displeasure and embarrassment with this “naked lady” cover, much as he was displeased with the “Axis: Bold as Love” cover which he found disrespectful. The cover was banned by several record dealers as “pornographic”, while others sold it with the gatefold cover turned inside out. In the U.S, Hendrix was not pleased with their version of the cover neither, after writing to Reprise describing what he wanted for the cover art, he was mostly ignored. He expressly asked for a color photo by Linda Eastman of the group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, and drew a picture of it for reference.  The company instead used a blurred red and yellow photo of his head while performing at Saville Theatre, taken by Karl Ferris. This eventually became the most famous version of the album art.



Side 1
1 “And the Gods Made Love”
2 “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)”
3 “Crosstown Traffic”
4 “Voodoo Chile”

Side 2
5 “Little Miss Strange” (Noel Redding)
6 “Long Hot Summer Night”
7 “Come On (Part I)” (Earl King; originally titled “Come On” on UK Track release)
8 “Gypsy Eyes” (Originally titled “Gipsy Eyes” on UK Track release)
9 “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”

Side 3
10 “Rainy Day, Dream Away”
11 “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)”
12 “Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently Gently Away”

Side 4
13 “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”
14 “House Burning Down”
15 “All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan)
16 “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” (Originally titled “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” on UK Track release)

All songs written by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted.

Personnel:
Jimi Hendrix: lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, comb and tissue paper kazoo, electric harpsichord, bass on “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)”, “Long Hot Summer Night”, “Gypsy Eyes”, “1983”, “House Burning Down”, and “All Along the Watchtower”
Noel Redding: backing vocals, bass on “Crosstown Traffic”, “Little Miss Strange”, “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, acoustic guitar and lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”
Mitch Mitchell: backing vocals, drums (except on “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”), percussion, lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”

Additional Personnel:
Jack Casady: bass on “Voodoo Chile”
Brian Jones: percussion on “All Along the Watchtower”
Al Kooper: piano on “Long Hot Summer Night”
Dave Mason: twelve-string guitar on “All Along the Watchtower”, backing vocals on “Crosstown Traffic”
The Sweet Inspirations: backing vocals on “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”
Steve Winwood: Hammond organ on “Voodoo Chile”
Chris Wood: flute on “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” on “Rainy Day, Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”:
Larry Faucette: congas
Mike Finnigan: organ
Buddy Miles: drums
Freddie Smith: tenor saxophone

Produced by: Jimi Hendrix
Recorded during: July and December 1967 and January and April–August 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, Record Plant Studios and Mayfair Studios, New York City
Released: October 16th, 1968 U.S, October 25th, 1968, U.K
Label: Reprise (U.S), Track Records (U.K)

Singles:
“All Along the Watchtower” Released: 1968 (US)
“Crosstown Traffic” Released: 1968 (US)
Voodoo Chile” Released: 1970 (UK)

Strongest tracks: “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)”, “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Chile”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”



Watch The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” live in Sweden, 1968





Listen to “Electric Ladyland” on Spotify

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