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Electric Ladyland is the third and final studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the only one of the band's LPs that was produced by Jimi Hendrix. Released on October 25, 1968, on Reprise Records, by mid-November it had reached number one in the US, where it spent two weeks at the top spot. The double LP was the Experience's most commercially successful release and their only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, where it spent 12 weeks on the chart.

Electric Ladyland included a cover of Bob Dylan's song, "All Along the Watchtower", which became the Experience's highest-selling single and their only top 40 hit in the US, peaking at number 20; the single reached number five in the UK. The album also included Hendrix's first recorded song to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal, "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", which reached number 18 in the UK charts.

In 1989, Noe Goldwasser, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine, described Electric Ladyland as "Hendrix's masterpiece".[1] According to author Michael Heatley, "most critics agree" that the album is "the fullest realization of Jimi's far-reaching ambitions."[2] In 2004, author Peter Doggett commented: "For pure experimental genius, melodic flair, conceptual vision and instrumental brilliance, Electric Ladyland remains a prime contender for the status of rock's greatest album."[3] Doggett described the LP as "a display of musical virtuosity never surpassed by any rock musician."[3]

Electric Ladyland has been featured on many greatest album lists, including a number 10 ranking on Classic Rock UK's list of 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever and number 37 on The Times'100 Best Albums of All Time. In 2003, the TV network VH1 ranked it as the 72nd greatest album of all-time, and in 2005, Q magazine readers voted it number 38. In 2005, Rolling Stone ranked it the 55th greatest album of all time.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Recording and production

Recording and production[edit]Edit

Recording sessions for the Experience's third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, began at the newly opened Record Plant Studios, with Chandler as producer and engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren.[4] As recording progressed, Chandler became increasingly frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism and his demands for repeated takes.[2] Hendrix allowed numerous friends and guests to join them in the studio, which contributed to a chaotic and crowded environment in the control room and led Chandler to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix.[2]Redding later recalled: "There were tons of people in the studio; you couldn't move. It was a party, not a session."[5] Redding, who had formed his own band in mid-1968, Fat Mattress, found it increasingly difficult to fulfill his commitments with the Experience, so Hendrix played many of the bass parts on Electric Ladyland.[2] The album's cover stated that it was "produced and directed by Jimi Hendrix".[2] The double LP was the only Experience album to be mixed entirely in stereo.[6]

During the Electric Ladyland recording sessions, Hendrix began experimenting with other combinations of musicians, including Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady and Traffic's Steve Winwood, who played bass and organ respectively on the fifteen-minute slow-blues jam, "Voodoo Chile".[2] During the album's production, Hendrix appeared at an impromptu jam with B.B. King, Al Kooper, and Elvin Bishop.[7][nb 1] Electric Ladyland was released on October 25, and by mid-November it had reached number one in the US, spending two weeks at the top spot.[9] The double LP was the Experience's most commercially successful release and their only number one album.[10] It peaked at number six in the UK, spending 12 weeks on the chart.[11]

Hendrix's studio perfectionism was legendary – he and Mitch Mitchell recorded well over 50 takes of "Gypsy Eyes" over three sessions.[12] Hendrix was generally insecure about his voice and often recorded his vocals hidden behind studio screens. Hendrix sang all the backing vocals himself on the title track and on "Long Hot Summer Night". He was said to be very happy with the vocal results on "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)".[13]

Music[edit]Edit

Electric Ladyland is a cross-section of Hendrix's wide range of musical talent. It includes examples of several genres and styles of music: the psychedelic "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", a UK single the previous summer (1967), the extended blues jam "Voodoo Chile", the New Orleans-style R&B of Earl King's "Come On", the epic studio production of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)", the social commentary of "House Burning Down", and the Sixties-eraBritpop of Noel Redding's "Little Miss Strange". The album also features an electric reworking of the Bob Dylan classic "All Along the Watchtower", which has been well received by critics as well as by Dylan himself,[14] and also "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", a staple of both radio and guitar repertoire.

Electric Ladyland included Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's song, "All Along the Watchtower", which became the band's highest-selling single and their only US top 40 hit, peaking at number 20; the single reached number five in the UK.[15] The album also included Hendrix's first recorded song to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal, "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", which reached number 18 in the UK charts.[16]

Cover[edit]Edit

[1][2]The outer record sleeve by the photographer David Montgomery of a later Polydor reissue distributed in Europe

Hendrix had written to Reprise describing what he wanted for the cover art, but was mostly ignored. He expressly asked for a color photo by Linda Eastman of the group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, and drew a picture of it for reference.[17] The company instead used a blurred red and yellow photo of his head, taken by Karl Ferris.[citation needed] Track Records used its art department, which produced a cover image by photographer David Montgomery, who also shot the inside cover portrait of Hendrix, depicting nineteen nude women lounging in front of a black background.[18] Hendrix expressed displeasure and embarrassment with this "naked lady" cover, much as he was displeased with the Axis: Bold As Love cover which he found disrespectful.[citation needed]

Release and reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Uncut [19]
Allmusic [20]
Blender [21]
BBC (favorable)[22]

Electric Ladyland was released on October 25, 1968, and by mid-November it had reached number one in the US, spending two weeks at the top spot.[23] The double LP was the Experience's most commercially successful release and his only number one album.[10] It peaked at number six in the UK, spending 12 weeks on the chart.[11]

In 1989, the founding editor of Guitar World magazine described Electric Ladyland as "Hendrix's masterpiece".[1] According to author Michael Heatley, "most critics agree" that the album is "the fullest realization of Jimi's far-reaching ambitions."[2] In 2004, author Peter Doggett commented: "For pure experimental genius, melodic flair, conceptual vision and instrumental brilliance,Electric Ladyland remains a prime contender for the status of rock's greatest album."[3] Doggett described the LP as "a display of musical virtuosity never surpassed by any rock musician."[3]

Electric Ladyland has been featured on many "greatest album" lists including a number 10 ranking on Classic Rock UK's list of 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever[24] and number 37 on the Times' 100 Best Albums of All Time.[25] In 2005, Q magazine readers voted Electric Ladyland the 38th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 72. In 2003, Rolling Stone declared it the 55th greatest album of all time.[26] The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Also, the Source magazine ranked it number 40 on their Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time list in 2006.[27]

Track listing[edit]Edit

US cover release[edit]Edit

All songs written by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "...And the Gods Made Love"   1:21
2. "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"   2:11
3. "Crosstown Traffic"   2:25
4. "Voodoo Chile"   15:00
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Little Miss Strange" (Noel Redding) 2:52
6. "Long Hot Summer Night"   3:27
7. "Come On (Part I)(Earl King) 4:09
8. "Gypsy Eyes"   3:43
9. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"   3:39
Side three
No. Title Length
10. "Rainy Day, Dream Away"   3:42
11. "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"   13:39
12. "Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently Gently Away"   1:02
Side four
No. Title Length
13. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"   4:25
14. "House Burning Down"   4:33
15. "All Along the Watchtower(Bob Dylan) 4:01
16. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"   5:12

UK cover release[edit]Edit

Disc one, sides one and four
No. Title Length
1. "And the Gods Made Love"   1:22
2. "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"   2:11
3. "Crosstown Traffic"   2:25
4. "Voodoo Chile"   15:02
5. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"   4:25
6. "House Burning Down"   4:33
7. "All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan) 4:00
8. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"   5:13
Disc two, sides two and three
No. Title Length
9. "Little Miss Strange" (Noel Redding) 2:51
10. "Long Hot Summer Night"   3:27
11. "Come On" (Earl King) 4:10
12. "Gypsy Eyes"   3:43
13. "The Burning of the Midnight Lamp"   3:40
14. "Rainy Day, Dream Away"   3:42
15. "1983...(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"   4:49
16. "Moon, Turn the Tides...Gently Gently Away"   9:54

Other[edit]Edit

As was common with multi-LP albums, sides one and four were pressed back to back on the same platter, likewise sides two and three. This was called auto-coupling or automatic sequence and was intended to make it easier to play through the entire album in sequence on automatic record-changers. In this case it has led to some CD releases of Electric Ladyland that have the sides in the incorrect one-four-two-three order. The cassette tape version altered the running order to keep both sides of the tape as equal as possible, a standard practice.

The original LP version of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)" is 13:39 and "Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently, Gently Away" is 1:01, the total being 14:40. On the "Nudes" version, "1983" is 4:49 while "Moon, Turn the Tides" is 9:54, the total being 14:43, just three seconds longer than the original.

Personnel[edit]Edit

Credits taken from the 1993 MCA compact disc booklet.


Additional personnel[edit]Edit

On "Rainy Day, Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming":


Production[edit]Edit

  • Producer - Jimi Hendrix
  • Engineers - Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren
  • Mixed by Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, and Gary Kellgren
  • Arranged by Jimi Hendrix
  • US cover liner note by Jimi Hendrix
  • US cover design - Karl Ferris
  • US cover inside photos - Linda Eastman and David Sygall
  • US art direction - Ed Thrasher
  • UK cover design - David King, Rob O'Connor
  • UK cover inside photos - David Montgomery
  • First CD remaster by Lee Herschberg (Reprise 6307-2)
  • Second CD remaster by Alan Douglas - Remastering by Joe Gastwirt, Liner notes by Michael Fairchild
  • Third CD remaster by Experience Hendrix - Remastering by Eddie Kramer and George Marino, Art direction by Vartan, Liner notes by Jeff Leve, Essay by Derek Taylor

Charts[edit]Edit

Album[edit]Edit

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard Top 200 Albums 1
1968 UK Albums Chart 6[28]

Singles[edit]Edit

Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" UK Singles Chart 18[29]
1968 "All Along the Watchtower" Billboard Hot 100 20
UK Singles Chart 5[29]
"Crosstown Traffic" Billboard Hot 100 52[30]
1969 "Crosstown Traffic" UK Singles Chart 37[29]
1970 "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" UK Singles Chart 1[29]
1971 "Gypsy Eyes/Remember" UK Singles Chart 35[29]
1990 "All Along the Watchtower EP (with "Hey Joe" & "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)") UK Singles Chart 52[29]
1990 "Crosstown Traffic" UK Singles Chart 61
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