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Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

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Few debut albums have altered the course of rock to the extent that Are You Experienced, the full-length bow from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, did in the spring of 1967. First released in the U.K. – a version with a different track selection and running order would be issued in the U.S. three months later – the LP not only showcased Hendrix’s remarkably inventive guitar playing but also combined R&B, blues, psychedelia, pop, heavy rock, and even jazz in a way that no one had ever done (or even imagined) before. Are You Experienced also revealed Hendrix (a veteran of the “chitlin’ circuit” who’d been all but unknown to rock fans a year earlier) as a songwriter with a uniquely whimsical and imaginative lyrical vision, one which could leap from earthy lust to futuristic fantasy with just a handful of words?

Featuring such immortal tracks as “Foxy Lady,” “Fire,” “Love or Confusion,” “Are You Experienced?” and “Manic Depression,” the album – especially the U.S. edition, which also included the U.K. singles “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “The Wind Cries Mary” – is practically a greatest-hits record unto itself. Hendrix, however, was just getting started; on his next two albums, 1967’s Axis: Bold As Love and 1968’s Electric Ladyland, he would paint sonic canvases so colorful and detailed as to make Are You Experienced seem raw and primitive by comparison. “Are You Experienced was one of the most direct records we’ve done,” he told Hit Parader magazine in January 1969. “What it was saying was, ‘Let us through the wall, man, we want you to dig it.’” And dig it, they did: Are You Experienced went on to spend 106 weeks on the Billboard 200, eventually selling more than 5 million copies in the U.S. alone.

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Jimi Hendrix

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