The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Bold As Love”

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It’s somewhat predictable that the songwriting skills of Jimi Hendrix are often overlooked by those considering his legacy, as are most of his other myriad skills he possessed when compared to his monumental virtuosity on the electric guitar. That doesn’t make it any less of a crime, though, because Hendrix’ guitar-playing wouldn’t have affected nearly as many fans without the benefit of the fantastic songs that he composed on the three albums he released with the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967 and 1968.

The second of those LP’s, Axis: Bold As Love, is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its UK release back in December of 1967. The closing track, “Bold As Love,” does include a searing solo by Hendrix that not only closes out the song but also the whole album in incendiary fashion. Before that solo, Jimi creates a psychedelic snapshot of what was going on in his head that reveals a little bit about the person behind the six-string.

In a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone that was conducted just seven months before his sudden death in September of that year, Hendrix talked about how his songwriting process was somewhat removed from his guitar exploits: “The music I might hear I can’t get on the guitar. It’s a thing of just laying around daydreaming or something. You’re hearing all this music, and you just can’t get it on the guitar. As a matter of fact, if you pick up your guitar and just try to play, it spoils the whole thing.”

The daydreams he was having when he wrote “Bold As Love” must have been quite vivid, as he renders the emotions roiling inside of him by giving them each a representative color. Anger and jealousy are an invading army of purple and green, while peaceful blue and turquoise seem to symbolize the more peaceful parts of the spirit that get caught up in green and purple’s nonsense.

Red and orange come off as confident and strong, contrasted by the timidity of yellow. Hendrix suggests that all of these disparate traits are pulling him apart, causing him to miss out on the full spectrum of the woman before him: “And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from/Giving my life to a rainbow like you.”

All is well once the refrain sweeps in and Hendrix declares, “I’m bold as love.” Those four words might be as good as any to describe the wondrous music that Jimi created in his all-too brief span on this earth. The guitar might have been his weapon of choice, but “Bold As Love” is further proof that the songwriting ammunition provided by Jimi Hendrix helped make that weapon so potent.

“Bold As Love”

Anger he smiles towering shiny metallic purple armor.
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him.
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground.
Blue are the life giving waters taking for granted,
They quietly understand.

Once happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready,
But wonder why the fight is on.
But they’re all, bold as love.
Yeah, they’re all bold as love.
Yeah, they’re all bold as love.
Just ask the Axis.

My red is so confident he flashes trophies of war
And ribbons of euphoria.
Orange is young, full of daring but very unsteady for the first go ’round.
My yellow in this case is no so mellow,
In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me.
And all of these emotions of mine keep holding me
From giving my life to a rainbow like you.
But I’m a yeah, I’m bold as love,
Yeah yeah.

Well, I’m bold, bold as love.
Hear me talkin’, girl.
I’m bold as love.
Just ask the Axis.
He knows everything. Yeah, yeah.

– Written by Jimi Hendrix

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