I have always liked purple… even before I became a Northwestern Wildcat… It’s the color of royalty… regal… majestic… and just cool. There is the “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater”… Scary. Prince and Purple Rain… Scary, too… I mean great and amazing artist, but I’ll never forget my friend Josh telling me about growing up in Minneapolis and standing outside of a club one night by Prince’s car… He was so excited to see Prince and was about to talk to him, when Prince in a high-pitched voice said, “Hey, get away from my car.”
I wonder if he got Purple Rain from America’s “Ventura Highway”… “Sorry boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain” Perhaps it was “For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!” Or… perhaps he made it through the purple haze…
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
Nothing was jiving in the States, so Jimi went east… well, further east… It was September 1966 and he moved to London, hooking up with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. My friends have an amazing photo signed by all of them… Wow. Even more wow was how fast these recordings came together and how powerful and ablaze they were.
Incendiary and blaze and fire are adjectives often used with Hendrix, and not just because he set his guitar on fire. His music just exploded on the scene. It’s almost impossible to believe that he would be dead by the end of the Summer of 1970. There is still so much surrounding his death and so many unanswered questions… Things we will never know… The only thing for certain is that Rock lost an icon at the eerie and now way too familiar age of 27.
His live shows would secure his fame and legend… the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the 1969 Woodstock Festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Further proof while live music must be sought out and attended… Not that you needed more proof, of course. I know the first two are out on DVD and probably Blu Ray and are so worth watching.
According to Jimi “‘Purple Haze’ was all about a dream I had that I was walking under the sea.” It had “nothing to do with drugs.” Well, who knows… It seems obvious that Jimi liked his drugs and his women… and that was all part of the flaws that seem to haunt most geniuses… There always seems to be something… at least one thing…
The most important thing here is the legacy and the music. His influence reaches far and wide… He is the electric guitar… he is the wah-wah pedal… he is psychedelic rock… he is distortion…
When the wind blows it cries, Mary… but also Jimi!
He influenced funk and metal… He even influenced the “Star-Spangled Banner”… The Chili Peppers and Metallica… Stevie Ray Vaughan… and yes, Prince. Long live the purple haze!!