3 THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
Are You Experienced (1967)
In 1966, canny Chas Chandler had brought Hendrix to Britain with a view to relaunching his career as a Carnaby St-style novelty, after the guitarist had spent years on the chitlin’ circuit. Yet the energies Hendrix unleashed transcended the banalities of the Wild Man persona in which he’d been cast. Instead, Hendrix tossed old blues, folk, psych, soul, funk and rock’n’roll into a new electric melting-pot. With the opening, sensual rumble of “Foxy Lady”, it was clear this was the greatest rock guitarist of all time, stretching and awakening. From the bang-up-against-the-limits “Manic Depression” to “May This Be Love”, Hendrix’s debut flows like lava, entombing the hitherto anaemic history of guitar rock beneath it. Are You Experienced introduces a new heaviness and sensuality. Hitherto, we’d just been kissing, pecking and petting. This was the real thing. The volume and temperature had been raised forever. There was no going back.
Best track: “I Don’t Live Today”
Marquee Moon (1977)
Television almost split when the original sessions for Marquee Moon with Eno producing failed to ignite. Fred Smith took the place of Richard Hell and three intensive weeks in the studio produced music owing as much to John Coltrane as to the Velvets. Tom Verlaine’s expressionist lyrics and high-wire guitar interplay with Richard Lloyd made for a work of breathless wonder. Eloquent, minimal and portentous, Marquee Moon was New York punk with a cool, art-school intellect. Having ditched some Eno-produced demos, Andy Johns steered the quartet through Velvets-via-Coltrane soundscapes, marked by the stinging guitar interplay of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, topped with Verlaine’s detached, metallic vocals. The post-punk era’s original template, its centrepiece was the magnificent 10-minute title track.
Best track: “Venus”