3 Songs that Showcase Jimi Hendrix’s Singing Voice (and Not Just His Guitar)

Seattle-born songwriter and performer Jimi Hendrix is known as the greatest guitar player ever, especially when it comes to rock and roll music. But Hendrix was more than nimble fingers and screeching solos. He was also an excellent singer. Boasting a low, searing voice, Hendrix knew his way around blues songs vocally as well as with his six-string.

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Here below, we wanted to showcase a trio of songs that demonstrate his prowess on the microphone. Indeed, these are three songs that showcase Jimi Hendrix’ talented singing voice (and not just his guitar playing abilities).

[RELATED: Behind the Death of Jimi Hendrix]

“The Wind Cries Mary” from Are You Experienced (1967)

This love song was written by Jimi Hendrix and released as a single in 1967. More than a rock track, the tune is poetry sung so sweetly by Hendrix that the words could be fruit growing and blossoming on trees. Part-psychedelia, part-love note, this song is about the memory and lingering affect of a woman. Hendrix seems to hug ever lyric, delivering it over music as much as singing it. According to the book Ultimate Hendrix, the song was recorded incredibly in just 20 minutes. And on it, Hendrix croons,

After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness
Staggering on down the street
Footprints dressed in red
And the wind whispers

“Red House” from Are You Experienced (1967)

Inspired by the song “California Night” that Hendrix used to perform with the band Curtis Knight and the Squires, this blues-rock offering opens with a blistering, heart-racing solo. But the substance of the song is its lyrics sung by the forlorn singer who thinks the love of his life has left him. On this track, Hendrix does something he doesn’t always do on his tracks—he performs a call and response with his guitar, showing that his vocals can match his six-string playing abilities, which is no small thing. This song, while an original of Hendrix, is also one in a long lineage of wailing blues songs about losing the object of your affection. And with a heft in his heart and a wink in his eye, Hendrix sings with vigor,

Well, i might as well go back over yonder,
way back up on the hill
that’s something to do
lord, i might as well go back over yonder,
way back yonder cross the hill
‘cus if my baby don’t love me no more…
i know her sister will

“Castles Made of Sand” from Axis: Bold as Love (1967)

This song about Hendrix’s years growing up is similar to “The Wind Cries Mary” in that it’s as much a literary work as it is a sonic one. It’s like a short story. You can almost see the vision of Hendrix reading the lines out of a book or off a piece of paper. It’s the story about a boy imagining his years as an adult, perhaps as a “fierce warrior.” With passion and heart galore, Hendrix sings,

A little Indian brave who before he was ten
Played war games in the woods with his Indian friends
And he built a dream that when he grew up
He would be a fearless warrior, Indian Chief
Many moons passed, and more the dream grew strong
Until tomorrow he would sing his first war song
And fight his first battle
But something went wrong
Surprise attack killed him in his sleep that night

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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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