Friday, December 16, 2016

Today in Music (1966): Jimi Hendrix “Hey Joe” released

Hey Joe

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Writer(s): Billy Roberts (see lyrics here)

Recorded: October 23, 1966

Released: December 16, 1966

First Charted: December 31, 1966

Peak: 1 CL, 6 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 64.38 video, 271.82 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1962, Billy Roberts, “an obscure figure in the California music scene” TC copyrighted the song “Hey Joe.” However, it’s unclear who Roberts was and if that was a pseudonym. It has since been covered more than 800 times. TC “It was a big hit on the folk scene and amongst garage rock bands in the mid-‘60s,” TC recorded by the Byrds, Cher, King Curtis, Deep Purple, Love, Mothers of Invention, Wilson Pickett, Tim Rose, and the Shadows of Knight. It became “a repertoire requirement for every halfway hip high school band in the country.” DM

The Leaves had the biggest hit with the song, taking it to #31 in 1966. Their version was credited to Chester Powers, which was supposedly a pen name for Dino Valentie, who was later a member of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Supposedly the Animals’ Chas Chandler was convinced to sign on as Jimi Hendrix’s manager after seeing him perform the song at New York’s Café Wha? Chandler brought Hendrix back to London where Jimi formed the Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. They’d been together three weeks when they recorded “Hey Joe” in one take. TC

The story feels “tacked together from a batch of staple blues concepts – the badman, betrayed by his woman, shoots her and her boyfriend and cuts out for parts unknown.” DM Hendrix “didn’t just cover the song, he possessed it. It’s slowed down, the tempo making the undercurrent of violence in to the song’s most tangible quality.” DMDM The lyric “is full of suppressed rage and Hendrix’s guitar is similarly holding back, but you can feel the pressure. There’s a heavy, almost ponderous feel at work, a sense of doom.” TC

The single wasn’t a showcase for the guitar wizardry that would come to be associated with Hendrix, but it still “lays the foundation ofr one of the most incendiary careers in rock.” XFM


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First posted 9/19/2023.

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