It was the autumn of 1968 and the Vietnam War was raging, The Jimi Hendrix Experience had a new album out called Electric Ladyland, and with the roaring rock subculture, it was an enormous success peaking at number one on the top chart for two weeks.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience consisted of members singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell.
The album has sixteen tracks overall and was The Experience’s third and final studio album which includes timeless Hendrix classics such as “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, “All Along the Watchtower”, and “Voodoo Child”.
“All Along the Watchtower,” specifically became of meaning to soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War, a cause Jimi strongly opposed. The Watchtower became a symbol for veterans of looking out for one anothers’ backs.
Although Jimi himself never served on the frontlines of the war, he sympathized the pains of being in the military, singing in “All Along Along the Watchtower,” “‘None of them along the line/Know what any of it is worth.’” Here Hendrix is singing that the politicians in America at the time do not realize the sacrifice that the soldiers on the frontlines were making.
In terms of music style, there is a great diversity of genre types on the album ranging from hard rock, to blues, to psychedelic rock. The album beautifully blends both heavy guitar and softer melodies, such as the fifteen minute slow blues jam “Voodoo Child”.
The “Voodoo Child” track pays true homage to Hendrix’s incredible abilities and creativity on a guitar/bass as Steve Winwood, Hendrix’s organist, claimed it was recorded in one take off the top of Jimi’s head.
Electric Ladyland also contains some of Jimi’s best guitar work. Most notably on the track “Voodoo Child” where he takes a simple blues song, “Voodoo Chile”, and explodes it into crunching notes and crazy riffs.
In comparison to the English rock group’s other two albums produced, Are You Experienced and Axis, Electric Ladyland is second to none although all of the band’s albums contain classics that will stand the test of time.