How Jimi Hendrix Transformed Music with One Song


The day after Christmas is best-known for being a bargain shopper’s dream day. For rock fans, the day after Christmas is the day one song revolutionized music. On December 26th, Jimi Hendrix wrote “Purple Haze”. The song defined a new era in rock music, and Jimi Hendrix catapulted to rock-star status in the United States.

A lot of people’s first introduction to Jimi was through his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The band scored a couple of top ten hits in the United Kingdom with “Hey Joe” and “The Wind Cries”. Although the band scored a few hit records in the United Kingdom, the United States was not exposed to their music, yet. Once the United States ‘caught on’ to this music revolution, the Jimi Hendrix Experience became a phenomena.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s innovative music called Psychedelic rock. The psychedelic sounds of “Purple Haze” created an explosion in rock music, and fans could not get enough of the song. The lyrics were infectious and started a new wave in musicianship and songwriting: Purple Haze/ all in my brain/ lately things they don’t seem the same/ actin’ funny/ but I don’t know why/ excuse me while I kiss the sky. “Purple Haze” is one of the most recognized songs, and “excuse me while I touch the sky” is one of the most recognized song quotes. Jimi had a unique way of writing songs. He was a huge fan of science fiction, and the science fiction influence helped Jimi create songs with wild imagery and innovative storytelling.

Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing defined how musicians played the instrument. He is widely regarded as the greatest electric guitarist, ever. In 2005, Q magazine ranked “Purple Haze” at Number 1 on its “100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever” list. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at Number 2 on its “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” list.

“Purple Haze” has accumulated a lot of awards; including a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2008. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song Number 17 on its list for “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Unfortunately, Jimi Hendrix lost his life at the tender age of 27 years old. Music not only lost a legendary artist, the world lost an artistic genius. We shall never forget what December 26th really represents; it is the day rock music was born.