Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Producer: Chas Chandler
Recorded: January 1967 at Olympic Studios in London, England
Released: May 1967
|Players:||Jimi Hendrix–vocals, guitar
|Album:||Are You Experienced (Reprise, 1967)|
Born Johnny Allen Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix did stints in the Army and played with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers before moving to London in 1966, forming the Experience and dazzling the club scene there with his guitar pyrotechnics.
Although “Purple Haze” was the first track on the American version of Are You Experienced, Hendrix had already hit radio in the U.K. and U.S. with his cover of “Hey Joe.”
One of the early performances of “Purple Haze” was on the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops. When an engineer mistakenly put on the backing track for Alan Price‘s “Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear,” Hendrix said “I don’t know the words to that one, man.”
With its allusions to mind expansion, “Purple Haze” became a psychedelic drug anthem that led to it being banned or relegated to late-night play by some radio stations.
“Purple Haze” hit Number Three on the U.K. pop chart. It only reached Number 65 on the more conservative Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
The Are You Experienced album, which also included “Hey Joe” and “Foxey Lady,” was one of the most revolutionary albums of 1967, falling just behind the Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in terms of notoriety.
The album peaked at Number Five on the Billboard 200 chart, and at Number Two in the U.K.