JIMI HENDRIX-THE CRY OF LOVE AND RAINBOW BRIDGE.

JIMI HENDRIX-THE CRY OF LOVE AND RAINBOW BRIDGE.

It was around 11a.m. on the 18th September 1970, that Jimi Hendrix was found unresponsive at an apartment in the Samarkand Hotel, in Notting Hill, London. He was rushed to the St. Mary’s Abbot’s Hospital, but pronounced dead at 12.45p.m. Jimi Hendrix was just twenty-seven. Music had lost one of the most influential and innovative guitarists of his generation. 

That’s despite Jimi’s solo career beginning just four years earlier. Since then, Jimi had released a trio of studio album and one live album. However, since Jimi’s death, twelve posthumous albums have been released. The first of these were The Cry Of Love and Rainbow Bridge. Both albums were released  back in 1971. Remastered versions of  The Cry Of Love and Rainbow Bridge have been recently released by Sony Music. These albums are a remainder of a musical maverick at the peak of his powers.

Jimi Hendrix took music  by storm, and vied for the title of rock’s greatest guitarist. Throughout his solo career, Jimi was a flamboyant showman, who growing up, modelled himself on T-Bone Walker. 

It was T-Bone who Jimi saw playing his guitar with his teeth.  When Jimi saw this, he took it as a challenge. This became part of Jimi’s routine. In years to come, Jimi played his guitar as if his life depended upon it. Jimi, on form, was like a man possessed. Some nights, Jimi played his guitar behind his back, played it with his teeth and as if trying to exercise some inner demons, set his guitar on fire. All this made Jimi one of the most exiting guitarists ever. However, Jimi was also a technically brilliant guitarists of his generation. That was apparent from his debut album with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. 

Are You Experienced?

That was apparent from The Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 debut album Are You Experienced. It featured the debut of the legendary power trio The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It featured  drummer Mitch Mitchell, bassist Noel Redding and guitarist Jimi Hendrix. They fused  rock and psychedelia on eleven tracks penned by Jimi Hendrix. 

The eleven tracks that became Are You Experienced, were recorded between October and April 1966. Three London studios were used, De Lane Lea Studios, CBS, and Olympic Studios. That’s where The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded their debut album Are You Experienced, which was produced  by Chas Chandler. Once it was completed, it was released in Britain in May 1967,

When Are You Experienced was released, it was hailed as one of the greatest debut rock albums. It showcased an innovative fusion of rock and psychedelia. At the heart of the Are You Experienced’s sound was the freewheeling sound of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. He could do things other guitarists could only dream of. Add to the equation Jimi’s languid, charismatic vocal and it’s no surprise that Are You Experienced was such a huge commercial success.

When Are You Experienced was released in Britain, in May 1967, it reached number two. This resulted in a gold disc for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. No wonder. Are You Experienced featured future Jimi Hendrix classics like Foxy Lady, Third Stone from the Sun and Are You Experienced? Three months later, in August 1967, Are You Experienced was released in the US. It reached number five, and was certified platinum five times over. For Jimi, this was the start of a three year period where he could do no wrong.

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Axis: Bold As Love.

Seven months later, on 1st December 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience returned with their sophomore album Axis: Bold As Love in the UK. It featured thirteen tracks. Twelve were  penned by Jimi. These tracks showed Jimi evolving as a songwriter. He may have just been twenty-five, but he was a talented songwriter. Proof of this were tracks like Spanish Castle Magic, Wait Until Tomorrow, Castles Made of Sand and Bold As Love. They featured Jimi coming of age as a songwriter. These songs were recorded at Olympic Studios, London.

Recording of Axis: Bold As Love took place at Olympic Studios, London. The sessions took place during May, June and October 1967. Axis: Bold As Love had to be released during 1967. The contract that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had signed stipulated this. Ironically, the album was nearly lost. 

One night, Jimi Hendrix took the master tapes to side one home. Unfortunately, Jimi left them in a taxi. The master tapes were never found. This resulted in side one being mixed again. This didn’t delay the release of Axis: Bold As Love. As planned, Axis: Bold As Love was released in Britain in December 1967.

Axis: Bold As Love, was released in  Britain, on 1st December 1967. It was released to the same critical acclaim as Are You Experienced. Critics ran out of superlatives in an attempt to describe Axis: Bold As Love. Jimi was described as some sort of musical messiah, who had music’s future in his hands. Record buyers agreed with the critics description of Axis: Bold As Love.

When Axis: Bold As Love was released in Britain, it reached number five and was certified silver. Then on January 15th 1968, Axis: Bold As Love was released in America. However, Axis: Bold As Love hadn’t been released in America during 1967. 

There was a reason for this. The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s record company were scared this would affect sales of Are You Experienced. So Axis: Bold As Love wasn’t released in America until January 1968. When  it was released, it reached number three in the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. Although not as successful as Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix was riding the crest of a musical wave.

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Electric Ladyland.

By October 1968, when The Jimi Hendrix Experience released Electric Ladyland, Jimi Hendrix was one of the most successful musicians in the world. His albums sold by the million, and when The Jimi Hendrix Experience played live, they were one of the hottest live acts. This showed when Electric Ladyland was released.

Unlike The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s two previous albums, Electric Ladyland was an ambitious album. It featured sixteen songs. Thirteen songs were penned by Jimi. Two of the covers were Bob Dylan’s All Around The Watchtower and Earl King’s Come On (Let the Good Times Roll. These tracks, and the rest of Electric Ladyland were recorded at three recording studios.

Recording sessions took place between July and December 1967, then between January and April 1968. Three different studios in London and New York were used. This included Olympic Studios in London and Record Plant Studios and Mayfair Studios, New York. Once the sixteen tracks were recorded, Electric Ladyland was released in October 1968.

As soon as critics heard Electric Ladyland, they realised that this was The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s best album. It oozed quality. Tracks like Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Chile, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), All Along the Watchtower and Gypsy resulted in what was the greatest album of  The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s career. Critics hailed Electric Ladyland a career high for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Record buyers agreed.

When Electric Ladyland was released in Britain, on 16th October 1968, it reached number six and was certified gold. Nine days, later, on 25th October 1968 Electric Ladyland was released in America. It reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum. The rise and rise of The Jimi Hendrix Experience continued.

Just like their previous two albums, their third album Electric Ladyland became a classic. Electric Ladyland was the album that The Jimi Hendrix Experience were always capable of making.  It was a coming of age for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They’d released the finest album of their three album career. Sadly, there was a twist in the tale. Electric Ladyland would be The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s final album. 

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Band of Gypsys.

Eight months after the release of Electric Ladyland, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their last concert on June 29th 1969. This took place at Barry Fey’s Denver Pop Festival. This was a three day event. Little did anyone know, that never again, would The Jimi Hendrix Experience play live. However, six months later, Jimi’s new trio, Band Of Gypsys, recorded their only album

After The Jimi Hendrix Experience split-up, Jimi formed another trio, the Band Of Gypsys. The lineup featured drummer Buddy Miles, bassist Billy Cox and  Jimi on guitar. The Band of Gypsys recorded their only live album on 1st January 1970.

When the Band Of Gypsys took to the stage at Filmore East, in New York, on 1st January 1970, they had been busy. They’d written six new songs.  Jimi penned four tracks, including Who Knows and the funky, anti Vietnam War song Machine Gun. These two tracks comprise side one of Band Of Gypsys. He also wrote Power To Love and Message Of Love. Jazz drummer Buddy Miles, wrote Changes and We Gotta Live Together. These six tracks found the Band Of Gypsys moving in a different direction from The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Elements of funk, R&B and soul shine through on Band Of Gypsys. This isn’t surprising, given Jimi’s bandmates’ past. However, Jimi’s trademark fusion rock and psychedelia is still present. What’s obvious, is that Jimi was keen to explore different musical directions. He wasn’t going to be tied to the one musical genre. Instead, he was willing to experiment musically. Band Of Gypsys was just the start.

When critics heard Band Of Gypsys, they were won over by the genre melting album. They realised that Band Of Gypsys was an ambitious album. Machine Gun, they felt, was the best track on Band Of Gypsys. It was the album’s centrepiece, and showed what Jimi Hendrix, musical maverick was capable of, even without  The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Just like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Band Of Gypsys was the perfect vehicle for Jimi.

Band Of Gypsys was released in Britain on 25th March 1970. It reached number six. Nearly three months later, on June 12th 1970, Band Of Gypsys was released in America, reaching number five in the US Billboard 200. This resulted in Band Of Gypsys being certified double platinum. Jimi Hendrix it seemed could do no wrong. Everyone waited with baited breath to see what direction his career headed. Sadly, tragedy struck.

On the 18th September 1970, Jimi Hendrix died. He was the latest addition to the infamous twenty-seven club. Music was in mourning. No one could believe Jimi Hendrix was dead. However, given his appetite for the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, Jimi must have cheated death many times. Sadly, his luck ran out. His musical legacy was just three studio albums and one live album. However, Jimi Hendrix had been a prolific recording artist. 

There were many tracks in various states of completion. This was more than enough for several album’s worth of material. They would be released over the next forty-four years. The first of these albums was The Cry of Love

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The Cry of Love.

The Cry of Love was the album that Jimi Hendrix was working on, at the time of his death. It was meant to be Jimi’s debut solo album.  Sadly, fate intervened and The Cry of Love, was never released during his lifetime. 

Jimi had been working on The Cry of Love since The Jimi Hendrix Experience split-up. He’d been working with drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox on The Cry Of Love. It featured ten tracks which were penned by Jimi. These tracks were recorded at Jimi’s new Electric Lady Studios, in New York.

At Electric Lady, Jimi, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox had recorded the ten songs. Around half the songs were completed. The rest of the songs, were in various states of completion. In some cases, the tracks were work in progress. Other tracks required overdubbing. So, when Jimi died, recording engineer Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell got to work.

They were joined by Jimi’s manager, Michael Jeffrey. Together, they got to work on completing Jimi’s first posthumous album, The Cry of Love. Commercial reality dictated that The Cry of Love had to be finished, and finished quickly.  After all, interest in Jimi Hendrix’s music was at an all-time high. However, they had to be careful that The Cry of Love wasn’t perceived as a hastily compiled, cash-in.

That was never going to be the case. Everyone involved saw The Cry of Love as a homage to Jimi Hendrix. Time, care and attention was taken compiling The Cry of Love. 

Before The Cry of Love, was completed, some overdubbing had to be carried out. Some new parts had to be added.  Recording engineer Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell  were asked to coproduce The Cry Of Love. They mixed the tracks, albeit with some guidance from Eddie Kramer, Jimi’s manager. He and Mitch Mitchell were given then given the job of deciding the final track listing.  Only then, was The Cry Of Love completed and ready for release.

When  The Cry Of Love was released on 5th March 1971, less than six months after Jimi’s death, mostly, the reviews were critically acclaimed. A few contrarian reviews disagreed. This included the Rolling Stone magazine. It’s review was merely favourable. However, most critics realised, that if Jimi Hendrix had lived,  The Cry Of Love would’ve been a trailblazing debut.

So did record buyers. On the release of The Cry Of Love, it reached number two in Britain. However,  The Cry Of Love fared much better in America. It reached number three and was certified platinum. This equated to over one million sales. Six months after his death, Jimi Hendrix was one of the most successful and innovative musicians of his generation. However, many people thought that The Cry Of Love was the last they’d hear from Jimi Hendrix. That wasn’t the case.

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Rainbow Concert.

Seven months after the release of The Cry Of Love, the second posthumous Jimi Hendrix album was released. This was Rainbow Bridge. Just like The Cry Of Love, Rainbow Bridge consisted of recordings made after The Jimi Hendrix Experience split-up. 

The eight tracks on Rainbow Concert were recorded during 1969 and 1970. Seven track were written by Jimi. They recorded with various musicians at various studios, including the Record Plant and Electric Lady Studios in New York. Way Over Yonder was recorded at TTG Studios, in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The other track, Hear My Train A Comin’ was recorded live at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California. Just like the rest of the tracks, it featured some of Jimi’s musical friends.

This included  Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They’re joined by  the Band Of Gypsys. Drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox all feature on Rainbow Concert. So do The Ronettes, who add backing vocals on Rainbow Bridge. It’s one of eight tracks that showcase Jimi Hendrix evolving as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.

That’s also the case with an early version of Star Spangled Banner. It sees Band Of Gypsys’ bassist Billy Cox joins Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. They play their part of a captivating version of what became a Jimi Hendrix classic. Other future Jimi Hendrix classics include Dolly Dagger and what’s regarded as the definitive version of Hear My Train A Comin.’ These are just three reasons why Rainbow Bridge was such a commercial success.

Rainbow Bridge was released in November 1971. It was well received by critics. They remarked upon how Jimi was maturing as a musician, singer and songwriter on Rainbow Bridge. Sadly, Rainbow Bridge wasn’t as successful as previous albums. It stalled at number sixteen in Britain and number fifteen in the US Billboard 200. However, at least Rainbow Bridge was certified gold in America, where Jimi was still regarded as one of the greatest musicians in the history of rock music. That’s still the case.

Forty-three years after the release of The Cry Of Love  and Rainbow Bridge, which were recently rereleased by Sony Music, Jimi Hendrix is still regarded as one of the greatest musicians in the history of modern music. He was a freewheeling, flamboyant,  musical maverick, who did things his way. This included playing his guitar with his teeth.  When Jimi saw T-Bone Walker do this, he took it as a challenge. Soon, it became part of Jimi’s routine. 

In years to come, Jimi played his guitar as if his life depended upon it. Jimi, on form, was like a man possessed. Some nights, Jimi played his guitar behind his back, played it with his teeth and as if trying to exercise some inner demons, set his guitar on fire. All this made Jimi one of the most exiting guitarists ever. There’s no denying that Jimi Hendrix was also a technically brilliant guitarists of his generation. Sadly, he was also fundamentally flawed. 

Just like so many musicians who came to the fore in the sixties, Jimi Hendrix had a penchant for the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. Drink and drugs were ever-present as Jimi lived life in the fast lane. Life was for living, and Jimi was determined to try everything once. He took this as a challenge. As a result, Jimi had a few close calls. However, there’s only saw often you can dice with death. On on the 18th September 1970, Jimi Hendrix died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. That day, music lost one of its most talented sons. His musical legacy included three studio albums and one live album. 

Since then, Jimi’s discography has grown. Twelve further albums have been released. The first of these albums were The Cry Of Love  and Rainbow Bridge, which were recently reissued remastered by Sony Music. They feature Jimi Hendrix as he matured as a singer, songwriter and musicians. Goodness knows what kind of musical colossus he might have become, had he cheated death? He may have continued to have been one of the most innovative and influential musicians of his generation. Sadly, that’s speculation. What we do know, is that Jimi Hendrix leaves behind a rich musical legacy.

This started with the trio of albums Jimi released with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland are stonewall classics that belong in any self-respecting record collection. Band Of Gypsys, Jimi’s first album after the breakup of  The Jimi Hendrix Experience, sees him changing direction musically. This continues on The Cry Of Love  and Rainbow Bridge, where Jimi Hendrix matures and evolves as a  musician. The Cry Of Love  and Rainbow Bridge are a tantalising taste of the direction Jimi Hendrix’s music was heading. Who knows what heights Jimi may have scaled, if he’d lived? Sadly, we’ll never know. What we do know, is that Jimi Hendrix left behind one of the richest musical legacies, which showcases a flamboyant, musical maverick at the peak of his powers.

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JIMI HENDRIX-THE CRY OF LOVE AND RAINBOW BRIDGE.

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