Jimi Hendrix & PURPLE HAZE


-Today our topic will be the influence of drugs during the Summer of Love in 1967 in San Francisco, California. We will focus on the song « Purple Haze » by Jimi Hendrix.

-First of all, Jimi Hendrix was born in November 27th, 1942 in Seattle, Washington. He was a musician, who began singing and playing the guitar at the age of 15. Jimi Hendrix had an accidental death from barbiturate-related asphyxia on September 18th, 1970, at the age of 27. He is still considered one of the best guitar players who has ever lived since he was an excellent player who also redefined the way an electric guitar can be played. He did things that the other top guitarists of the day had never seen before. Jimi Hendrix had massive hands. He could bar all six strings with his thumb and still be able to wrap his fingers back around the entire neck. Most people can’t do that.

– “Purple Haze” was one of Hendrix’s best-known songs and appears on many Hendrix compilation albums like “Are You Experienced”. It was written on January 11th, 1967, and it was recorded from 3rd to 8th February, 1967 at De Lane Lea and Olympic studios in London. The song lasts 2 minutes and 46 seconds and the instruments used were: drums, bass-guitar and rock-guitar. Moreover, the genre of this song is Psychedelic rock which is a music genre which appeared in the 1960s, in relation to the use of drugs, the best known being LSD (acid rock). The song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles is a perfect illustration of this time when LSD was famous among rock bands and the 1960s hippie counter-culture movement.

– Jimi Hendrix became famous in the United States when he performed this song among others at the Monterey Pop Festival. Actually, The Monterey Pop Festival was a music festival which took place in June 1967, in California during The Summer of Love. Hendrix amazed people by playing the guitar with his teeth and especially when he set his guitar on fire and broke it. This spectacular performance made him become a super star. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked “Purple Haze” #17 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

– Let’s talk about the lyrics of “Purple Haze”. In this song, Jimi Hendrix questions himself about his life. He doesn’t really know if he’s happy or not. He also talks about ‘that girl’ who he associates with drug, which may imply that drug was part of his life.

-Jimi Hendrix was also a form of expression for those who did not know how to express themselves. Jimi Hendrix was a rebel of the 1960s Hippie counter-culture movement and actually had an impact on American young people.



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