Jimi Hendrix's Best Slow Songs and Ballads
As a student guitarist in my formative years, I was enamored by the lead guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix. Tapes, CDs, posters on the wall, and any books I could find about the man were my prized possessions, along with my Fender Stratocaster. While I was deeply into the harder rock aspects of the songs along with the incredible lead guitar playing he was famous for, the truth is, I was not really into the softer, more ballad material from Jimi until later on.
I think some of these songs are just as important and go on to tell the whole story of the person Jimi was. If you are a fan already you may have some different choices; these just serve my personal taste.
Jimmy Hendrix's Top 5 Ballads, Love Songs, and Slow Songs
- "Little Wing"
- "Castles Made of Sand"
- "Have You Ever Been (to Electric Ladyland)"
- "The Wind Cries Mary"
1. "Little Wing"
This song is a Hendrix classic and possibly one of his best known. It is a staple of album-orientated classic FM rock and also graces numerous top all-time lists. The song celebrates the essence of the female spirit and employs women as a symbol of mystic sage, serving as a guardian angel for solace within the words of Jimi. This heartfelt ballad was first released on the Axis: Bold As Love album and was one of few songs to ever be played live from the record.
''Little Wing'' has become a standard in popular classic rock, being covered by a laundry list of top artists like Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton. Stevie Ray Vaughan also recorded a heart-wrenching instrumental cover and was one of the defining moments of his great career.
2. "Castles Made of Sand"
Also from the album Axis: Bold As Love, "Castles Made of Sand" displays the more mature songwriting that Jimi was accomplishing at that time and features some of his signature backward recorded guitar work in the midst of the studio wizardry that surrounded the making of the album. It is said to be autobiographical in the nature of the lyrics, talking about his Cherokee Indian heritage and personal events in his life's history, such as his father's alcoholism.
Jimi was uncomfortable discussing his past, so this song provides some insight into the personal happenings around his short life. One of the more famous covers of the song was done by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The song "Angel" was first heard on the posthumously released Cry Of Love album after Jimi's death serving as the first single. A sweet ballad with the lyrics referring to an angel visiting earth, Jimi was said to have written the song after an inspirational dream about his mother. This is one of the more popular songs that was released after the death of Jimi, and further solidifies the future works of what would be from Hendrix.
4. "Have You Ever Been (to Electric Ladyland)"
This one leads off the Electric Ladyland album and serves as the title track after the short prelude piece "And The Gods Made Love." Electric Ladyland was Jimi's final release, an ambitious double album that showcases the many sides of Hendrix, from soul music, psychedelic, and wailing guitar rock. A short song and has a relaxing feel that sets the tone for the deeper colors of the album. Electric Ladyland is an essential classic rock album best enjoyed with a pair of headphones and a quiet room.
The album was produced at Jimi's own Electric Ladyland studios of the same name, a place built by Hendrix to serve as a sanctuary and solitude for his music production.
5. "The Wind Cries Mary"
This was the third single from the Are You Experienced album, and it is said the lyrics were written for his girlfriend after the couple got into a fight. Jimi had a version of this song going as early as 1966 and played it with his then band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. For the Are You Experienced sessions, the song came together rather quickly and was recorded in a few minutes, with the first take being the used track. This remains a Hendrix ballad staple and remains still one of his classics, standing the test of time.
© 2017 The Write Life
GJones from Manila, Philippines on June 06, 2017:
Stevie Ray, absolutely fantastic tribute. RIP Jimi and Stevie Ray. Two of the best in the world.