In case you hadn’t heard by now, today is Record Store Day, and independent record stores the world over will be holding special events and sporting exclusive releases. One of those exclusives is a 1966 mono recording of “Hey, Joe” by Jimi Hendrix, released on 7” vinyl. It seems like a good segue into remembering Hendrix himself, and this song in particular.
While “Hey, Joe” is notably one of Hendrix’s best-known singles, he didn’t write it; in fact, the song’s authorship has been a matter of debate for some time. The song had been in circulation for a couple of years thanks in part to folk artist Tim Rose, who claimed the tune was a “traditional song” and had been making the rounds performing it in clubs. The first known recording of it was by The Leaves in 1965, and it has been covered by hundreds of artists since. But when The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their rock version of it on Are You Experienced in 1967, it became indelibly imprinted in people’s minds as a Hendrix tune, and we can hardly listen to any version of it today without remembering him.
Interestingly, while “Hey, Joe” climbed to No. 6 on the U.K. charts, it never actually charted in the U.S. But needless to say, it became a fan favorite over the years.
The video below is a great capture of a live performance of the song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Watch for a cool surprise around 1:35. Enjoy!