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"Purple Haze"
PurpleHazeUK
Song Details
Album (track #) US United States: Are You Experienced ({{{number}}})
Length 2:50
Writer(s) Jimi Hendrix
Recorded {{{recorddates}}}
Studio(s) {{{recordplaces}}}
Single Details
Released UK United Kingdom: March 17th, 1967
US United States: June 19th, 1967
Other:See table
Publisher(s) UK United Kingdom: Track
US United States: Reprise
Other:See table
B-side(s) UK United Kingdom: "51st Anniversary"
US United States: "The Wind Cries Mary"
Charts UK United Kingdom: #3
US United States: #65
Jimi Hendrix Wiki rating
FullstarFullstarFullstarFullstarFullstar

"Purple Haze" is a song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, from their 1967 debut album Are You Experienced. The song only appeared on the North American version of the LP, and was the opening track. "Purple Haze" was written by Jimi Hendrix and recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in London, England, on January 11th, 1967.

"Purple Haze" was released as a single on March 17th, 1967 in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, and on June 19th, 1967 in North America. The former contained the B-side "51st Anniversary", while the latter was backed with "The Wind Cries Mary".

HistoryEdit

Hendrix wrote and first played the main riff to "Purple Haze" on December 16th, 1966 at his flat. The band's manager, Chas Chandler, was with Jimi at the time and told him to keep working on what he was playing, claiming it "would be the next single" (after "Hey Joe", which had been released in November). Hendrix began playing the riff again on the afternoon of December 26th, 1966 backstage at the Upper Cut Club where The Experience were due to play that evening. Chandler told Jimi to "write the rest of that", and so it grew into a full song. Hendrix reportedly wrote a lot more lyrics and music than what is heard on the final version, but Chas felt it best to cut it down.

"Purple Haze" was first played live on January 8th, 1967 at the Mojo Club, Sheffield, just three days before it saw recording for the LP, Are You Experienced. On the 11th, three other songs were recorded along with "Purple Haze", namely "Fire", "The Wind Cries Mary" and "51st Anniversary", of which the latter two were used as the RUX master takes.

The song was released as the band's second worldwide single on March 17th, 1967 in the United Kingdom and June 19th, 1967 in the United States. It reached #3 in the UK, making it Hendrix's highest-charting single ever, and while it only reached #65 in the US, this was still an improvement on "Hey Joe" which failed to chart in the country.

"Purple Haze" remained a live favourite throught Hendrix's career, due to its popularity and relatively low difficulty to perform, and usually featured as the final or penultimate song, often before "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)". In 1969 and 1970, "The Star Spangled Banner" often ended by driving straight into "Purple Haze", much to the crowd's pleasure. In total, the song was played x times between 1966 and 1970, and it last appeared in the set list of Hendrix's final gig, on September 6th, 1970 at the Isle of Fehmarn, Germany. It was the penultimate song, succeeding "Room Full of Mirrors" and preceding "Voodoo Child".

AnalysisEdit

MeaningEdit

Purple haze was originally written by Peter, Paul and Mary to be sung along with Puff The Magic Dragon during the 1960s cartoon. The notorious dragon was an avid user of the purple LSD tablets, manufactured by Owsley Stanley circa 1965 (Owsley refuted his ever naming an LSD product Purple Haze, as his products only clarified things, never producing a haze). "Anyone who claims I named my product Purple Haze was clearly high."

The term was then used in the 1970s to refer to a specific, vividly purple strain of cannabis, though this could not have influenced the song as it was written in 1966. Despite these apparently relevant meanings, Hendrix insists that "Purple Haze" was in fact not about drugs, but a reference to a dream he once had. However, he had the dream while experiencing an out of body encouter where Hendrix alleges he saw himself take the shape of Mama Cass. The dream was said to be inspired by Philip José Farmer's science-fiction novel Night of Light: Day of Dreams, in which the phrase "purplish haze" is used. Aforementioned dream supposedly featured Hendrix becoming surrounded by a purple haze, getting lost, and subsequently being saved by his faith in Jesus Christ. Hendrix also once said that the song was about love, and that the line "Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me" was the key to the song.

StyleEdit

The main genre of "Purple Haze" is that of classic hard rock. The distinctive tritone interval is featured in the intro which acts as a consistent, marching start to the song. The main guitar riff is played in Bb, while the bass plays in E. The song speeds up towards the end and the guitar solo and dubbed guitars in the outro are played through an octavia.

LiveEdit

When played live, "Purple Haze" was not often modified a lot, unlike many other Hendrix songs. The main riff was occassionally played differently or extended, but not often enough to warrant it as a 'variation'. Sometimes through the verses, typical Hendrix licks and breaks were played, just to add live variation to the sound. The solo was sometimes extended when played on-stage, simply a trait of Hendrix's as a guitarist, and naturally, as the studio version features overdubbed guitars, Jimi would sometimes improvise the end and usually finished the song with the main riff.

As one of the Experience's most popular hits, "Purple Haze" was often played near the end, or last, on live set lists. However, the song was sometimes moved around in the running order, but usually remained near the end. "Purple Haze" was often preceded by "The Star Spangled Banner", and when not played last was sometimes followed by "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".

At Woodstock, "The Star Spangled Banner" came before "Purple Haze", which was then followed by the "Woodstock Improvisation" and "Villanova Junction", before the last song of the day, "Hey Joe" was played. At Berkeley, the song came in between "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Voodoo Child", as stated as the norm before.

LyricsEdit

Purple haze all in my brain,
Lately things just don't seem the same.
Actin' funny but I don't know why,
'scuse me while I kiss the sky.

Purple haze all around,
Don't know if I'm comin' up or down.
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.

Help me,
Help me,
Oh no, no!

Yeah!
Purple haze all in my eyes,
Don't know if it's day or night,
You got me blowin', blowin' my mind,
Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

No!
Help me,
Ahh, yeah, purple haze, yeah!
Oh no, no,
Oh, help me,
Tell me, baby, tell me,
I can't go on like this,
You're makin' me blow my mind, mama,
Oh no, no,
No, it's painful baby.

AppearancesEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Live albumsEdit

Compilation albumsEdit

Soundtrack albumsEdit

Track listingsEdit

International vinylEdit

Side AEdit

  1. "Purple Haze" – 2:50

Side BEdit

  1. "51st Anniversary" – 3:15

North American vinylEdit

Side AEdit

  1. "Purple Haze" – 2:50

Side BEdit

  1. "The Wind Cries Mary" – 3:20

France vinylEdit

Side AEdit

  1. "Purple Haze" – 2:50

Side BEdit

  1. "Highway Child" – 3:32

PersonnelEdit

In order of appearance:

Release detailsEdit

Country
Date
Format
Record label
Catalogue
number
FRA France France 1970 Vinyl Barclay 61.359
GER Germany Germany May, 1967 Vinyl Polydor 59 072
JAP Japan Japan 1967 Vinyl Polydor DP-1559
UK United Kingdom United Kingdom March 17th, 1967 Vinyl Track 604001
US United States United States June 19th, 1967 Vinyl Reprise 0597

Gallery of artworkEdit

TriviaEdit

  • The chorus lyrics were once "Purple haze, Jesus saves", but Hendrix changed this before it was recorded.
  • To create the distant-sounding backing track, a pair of headphones were put around the microphone and then it was recorded.
  • The lyrics "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" are sometimes misinterpreted as "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy", which Hendrix sometimes used to confuse fans by actually singing the latter and pointing to a bandmate.
  • One of the studios in Electric Lady Studios is called "Purple Haze", and features a purple-coloured mixing board.

LinksEdit

NavigationEdit

Are You Experienced (UK)

Original tracks: 1. "Foxy Lady" • 2. "Manic Depression" • 3. "Red House" • 4. "Can You See Me" • 5. "Love or Confusion" • 6. "I Don't Live Today" • 7. "May This Be Love" • 8. "Fire" • 9. "Third Stone From the Sun" • 10. "Remember" • 11. "Are You Experienced?"

Bonus tracks: 12. "Hey Joe" • 13. "Stone Free" • 14. "Purple Haze" • 15. "51st Anniversary" • 16. "The Wind Cries Mary" • 17. "Highway Chile"

Are You Experienced (US)

Original tracks: 1. "Purple Haze" • 2. "Manic Depression" • 3. "Hey Joe" • 4. "Love or Confusion" • 5. "May This Be Love" • 6. "I Don't Live Today" • 7. "The Wind Cries Mary" • 8. "Fire" • 9. "Third Stone From the Sun" • 10. "Foxey Lady" • 11. "Are You Experienced?"

Bonus tracks: 12. "Stone Free" • 13. "51st Anniversary" • 14. "Highway Chile" • 15. "Can You See Me" • 16. "Remember" • 17. "Red House"

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