Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

100 Records That Shook The World, # 58

Purple Haze

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

"Uh! Ah! Uh! Ah!"

Anyone who knows rock music will be familiar with those four electrically generated guitar grunts (for want of a better term) that open Jimi's "Purple Haze", a spectacular tour de force of sound.

There is much debate over the song and how it came into being, what it was about, and whether Jimi was on LSD when it was written. Well, here's what I've gleaned:

  • The song evidently came into being when Chas Chandler heard Jimi playing the opening riff and encouraged him to put some words to it.
  • There is a strain of marijuana known as Purple Haze, but this was named after the song.
  • A man called Owsley Stanley manufactured LSD in 1965 (when it was still legal) under two names: Purple Haze and White Lightning. He was reportedly handing out Purple Haze tabs to people entering the Monterey Pop festival (where Jimi performed) in 1967 (when it was illegal) and some argue that Jimi was high on the tabs when onstage.
  • Jimi maintained that the song was inspired by a dream he had, which was in part inspired by the sci-fi novel Night Of Light  by Philip Jose Farmer, which used the term "purplish haze".
Whatever the truth is, it's a damn good song. Enjoy.

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