Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………on August 26th of 1967 Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” is released. Although it is now considered a Rock ‘n’ Roll classic, the single only reached #65 on the Billboard chart. This song was written under the guidance of Hendrix’ manager, ex-Animals bassist Chas Chandler. They had just released Hendrix’ first single, a cover of Tim Rose’s “Hey Joe” and were looking for a follow up. Chandler was impressed when he first heard the riff, and inspired Jimi to finish writing the song. Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him. Part of the lyrics were formed from some of Jimi’s free verse ramblings that he jotted down from time to time. At one point, Hendrix wrote the chorus as “Purple Haze, Jesus Saves,” but decided against it. Hendrix wrote the lyrics on the day after Christmas in 1966. He wrote a lot more than what made it to the song. The track was developed at a press function that he attended at East London’s Upper Cut Club, run by the former boxer Billy Walker. Hendrix launched into the scorching riff in the club’s compact dressing room and every head turned. “I said, write the rest of that,” said Chandler. “That’s the next single!” It was premiered live on 8 January 1967, in Sheffield in the north of England. A month before Hendrix died, he opened a recording studio in Greenwich Village called Electric Lady. One of the studios is known as “Purple Haze” and contains a purple mixing board. The studios have remained active with The Clash, Weezer, Patti Smith and Alicia Keys all recording there at some point. On the original recording, you hear the line up of the Experience with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. Though the song only made it to #65 in the US it was a huge hit in the UK peaking at #3.